The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but not enough to change views of a sustained strength in the labor market.
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Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000 for the week ended Dec. 27, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. That followed four straight weeks of declines.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 290,000 last week. The prior week's data was revised to show 1,000 more applications received that previously reported. Claims are volatile around the Christmas holiday period.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)