WASHINGTON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing
applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last
week, hitting their lowest level in seven months, suggesting the
labor market remains solid even as the economy is slowing.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped
10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 203,000 for the week ended Nov.
30, the lowest level since mid-April, the Labor Department said
on Thursday. Data for the prior week was unrevised.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims increasing
to 215,000 in the latest week.
Claims data tend to be volatile around holidays like last
week's Thanksgiving Day, which was later this year compared to
2018. This can throw off the model that the government uses to
strip out seasonal fluctuations from the data.
The Labor Department said no states were estimated last
week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered
a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out
week-to-week volatility, fell 2,000 to 217,750 last week.
The claims data has no bearing on November's employment
report, which is scheduled for release on Friday. According to a
Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls probably
increased by 180,000 jobs in November, boosted by the return of
about 46,000 striking General Motors
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