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(Kitco News) – The U.S. labor market continues to build momentum, pushing gold prices to session lows, as the Labor Department reported stronger-than-expected jobless claims.

Initial weekly U.S. jobless claims fell by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000 in the week to Saturday, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

“This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202,000,” the report said.

Consensus expectations compiled by various news organizations had called for initial claims to be around 216,000. The government revised the previous week’s report up by 1,000 to 212,000 claims.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it smoothens out week-to-week volatility – fell by 4,000 claims to 231,500.

Continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits and reported with a one-week delay, dropped by 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.717 million during the week ending March 23, the government said.

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