The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose more than expected, dampening optimism over the strength of the labor market, official data showed on Thursday. In a report, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending November 8 increased by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 290,000 from the previous week’s total of 278,000. Analysts had expected jobless claims to rise by 4,000 to 282,000 last week. The number of Americans applying for new jobless benefits held below 300,000 for the ninth consecutive week, signaling the recovery in the labor market is gaining momentum. Continuing jobless claims in the week ended November 1 rose to 2.392 million from 2.356 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to decline to 2.320 million. The four-week moving average was 285,000, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s total of 279,000. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data. EUR/USD was trading at 1.2472 from around 1.2464 ahead of the release of the data, while GBP/USD was at 1.5751 from 1.5750 earlier. Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures pointed to a modestly higher open. The Dow futures pointed to a gain of 0.1% at the open, the S&P 500 futures added 0.1%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures picked up 0.1%. Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,165.30 a troy ounce, compared to $1,162.40 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $76.19 a barrel from $76.16 earlier.