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US weekly jobless claims jump to highest level in more than 2 years

Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. jumped to their highest level in more than two years, data from the U.S. Labor Department showed.

Seasonally adjusted initial claims for U.S. unemployment benefits for the week ended Dec. 7 rose to 252,000 from the previous week's figure of 203,000.

The latest print marks the highest level for initial claims since Sept. 30, 2017, when they had reached 257,000.

The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for weekly jobless claims to come in at 213,000.

The four-week moving average came in at 224,000, up from the four-week moving average of 217,750 recorded in the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate, which measures the proportion of the labor force receiving unemployment benefits, was unchanged at 1.2% in the week ended Nov. 30. Insured unemployment fell to 1,667,000 from the prior week's upwardly revised figure of 1,698,000.

Separately, seasonally adjusted producer price growth in the U.S. was flat on a monthly basis in November after producer prices gained 0.4% in the prior month, according to latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for an increase of 0.2% in November.

The index for final demand services declined 0.3% in November, marking the steepest fall since February 2017, when it dropped by the same rate. This follows a 0.3% rise recorded in the previous month. More than two-thirds of the decrease in November was attributable to margins for final demand trade services, which fell 0.6%.

Prices for final demand goods increased 0.3% in November, with half of the rise being attributable to a 1.1% rise in the prices for final demand foods. The latest increase followed a 0.7% rise recorded in October.

On an unadjusted basis, the producer price index for final demand rose 1.1% year over year in November.