The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims last week fell 23,000 to 238,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

While the market expectation for initial jobless claims was to reach 245,000 for the week ending Jan. 29, the previous week’s figure was revised up by 1,000 to 261,000.

The unemployment rate in the world’s largest economy fell to 3.9% in December from 4.2% in November, according to the Labor Department.

The US economy, however, added just 199,000 jobs in December, lower than estimates.

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