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Applications for jobless benefits fell by 20,000 for the week ending Feb. 1, bringing the total to 331,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 351,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 250, bringing the total to 334,000, down from the previous unrevised average of 333,750.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3 percent for the week ending January 25, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the Labor Department said.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 25 was 2,964,000, an increase of 15,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,949,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,985,500, an increase of 25,750 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,959,750,” the report added.

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 25 were Indiana (+5,407), Massachusetts (+1,050) and Nebraska (+12).

Meanwhile, New York (-7,083), Texas (-4,152), Michigan (-3,929), Florida (-3,879) and New Jersey (-3,605) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

“A total of 3.47 million Americans received benefits as of Jan. 18, down from 3.58 million the week before,” the Associated Press reported. “The January employment report being released Friday by the Labor Department will show whether hiring has improved. A scant 74,000 jobs were added in December, the fewest in three years.”

Markets are poised to open mixed:


Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

This post has been updated.

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