First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended November 5th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 254,000, a decrease of 11,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 265,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 263,000.

With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims pulled back well off the nearly three-month high set in the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the four-week moving average crept up to 259,750, an increase of 1,750 from the previous week's revised average of 258,000.

The uptick lifted the less volatile four-week moving average to its highest level since reaching 260,750 in the week ended September 10th.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also rose by 18,000 to 2.041 million in the week ended October 29th.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still fell to 2,039,500 from a revised 2,041,750 in the previous week, hitting its lowest level in over sixteen years.

Last Friday, the Labor Department said the economy added 161,000 jobs in October compared to economist estimates for an increase of around 178,000 jobs.

The report also said the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9 percent in October from 5.0 percent in September, matching expectations.

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