The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose in the first week of January amid raging Covid-19 infections, but remained at a level consistent with rapidly tightening labor market conditions. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 230,000 for the week ended Jan. 8, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 200,000 applications for the latest week.

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