LONDON (AFP) - The euro wilted against the dollar Thursday in reaction to a sharper-than-expected rise in US jobless claims as the single currency continued to erase gains made last week when it hit a one-year high. The euro in late trade was at 1.4537 dollars against 1.4667 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar was meanwhile trading at 89.44 yen, down from 89.66. The euro is seen by investors as a riskier asset than the dollar and is less attractive in the face of data suggesting weakness in the US and global economies. Interest in the dollar rose on Thursday when fresh data showed that the United States was still struggling to emerge from its deep slump, with rising joblessness offsetting the impact of government stimulus efforts. The Labor Department reported that new claims for US unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly in the past week, by 17,000 to 551,000. That was higher than the 535,000 forecast by most economists. Investors around the world are now awaiting a report from the US government Friday on the number of non-farm payroll jobs lost in September. The US private sector has already been reported to have shed more jobs last month than had been expected. Also affecting the euro was a widely-watched index of manufacturing activity in the 16-nation eurozone that hit a 16-month high in September, according to a second estimate on Thursday. But analysts noted that the pace of gains had slowed. The further improvement in the manufacturing purchasing managers survey in September supports belief that the eurozone has returned to growth in the third quarter, said analyst Howard Archer at Global Insight. But he warned: Indications that the rate of improvement is slowing highlights the fact that the eurozone still faces a difficult environment and sustainable, healthy recovery is far from guaranteed. Therefore there remains a compelling case for the ECB (European Central Bank) to retain an accommodative stance for some considerable time to come and not to be tempted into any early tightening of monetary policy, he said. Continued low ECB interest rates would tend to decrease investor appetite for the euro. In addition, rising concern in financial circles regarding how and when governments will bring their economic support measures to an end is also weighing on the euro and boosting the appeal of the dollar. With many now worrying about the lack of exit strategies from the stimulus plans... we could see the recent optimism start to fade away as many look for some fresh signs of growth, noted Jimmy Yates of CMC Markets. In London on Thursday, the euro was changing hands at 1.4537 dollars against 1.4667 dollars late on Wednesday, 130.17 yen (131.28), 0.9099 pounds (0.9156) and 1.5164 Swiss francs (1.5164). The dollar stood at 89.44 yen (89.66) and 1.0420 Swiss francs (1.0359). The pound was at 1.5994 dollars (1.5981). On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold climbed to 1,004.75 dollars an ounce at the fixing from 995.75 dollars an ounce late on Wednesday.