* Jobless claims data due
* Family Dollar posts weaker quarterly profit, shares fall
* Futures up: Dow 41 pts, S&P 4 pts, Nasdaq 3.5 pts
U.S. stock index futures rose on Thursday ahead of labor market data, with Macy's raising the bar for retailers after a stellar holiday season.
The Labor Department releases first-time claims for jobless benefits for the latest week at 8:30 a.m. EST (1330 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a total of 335,000 new filings, just below the 339,000 filed in the prior week.
"In the absence of a lot of earnings news so far, economic ones are quite important," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Macy's shares rose 6.6 percent in premarket trading a day after the department store operator reported strong holiday season sales and gave a preliminary forecast for 2014 that suggests it will continue to outpace its rivals.
"The market seems to have found sound support here," said Meckler. "The theme of a better economy seems to resonate with investors and they continue to look for companies that will do well in a better economy."
S&P 500 futures rose 4 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 41 points and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.5 points.
Bed Bath & Beyond fell 9.5 percent in premarket trading a day after lowering its fourth quarter and full-year earnings estimates.
Family Dollar reported a weaker quarterly profit as it discounted more than it had originally planned in order to win holiday shoppers, sending its shares down 7.2 percent in premarket trading.