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Jobless claims unexpectedly fall

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 05 Dec 2019

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, according to data from the Labor Department.
US initial jobless claims declined by 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised level to 203,000, beating expectations for an increase to 215,000.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average came in at 217,750, down 2,000 from the previous week's unrevised average.

The four-week average is considered more reliable as it smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly figures, giving a more accurate picture of the health of the labour market.

Continuing claims - i.e. the number of people already collecting unemployment benefits - rose to 1.693m from a revised 1.642m and versus expectations for a level of 1.650m. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "The drop in jobless claims likely is a Thanksgiving seasonal effect. We think the trend is steady at about 215K, so a rebound next week is a good bet. The trend, however, likely will start to nudge higher over the next few months, if we're right in our view that GDP growth will be closer to 1% than 2%."