US jobless claims fall more than expected

Jobless claims down 16,000 to 278,000

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell from a six-month high last week, suggesting the labor market recovery remains intact despite a sharp stock market sell-off and signs the economy has lost significant momentum.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 278,000 in the week ended Jan. 23 from 294,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 282,000 in the latest week. Claims have been volatile in recent weeks because of difficulties adjusting the figures to accounts for seasonal fluctuations.

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