U.S. Jobless Claims Fell Last Week to 297,000

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to an improving labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 17,000 to a seasonally adjusted 297,000 for the week ended Nov. 29, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

 
The decline almost reversed the prior week’s increase which had pushed claims above 300,000 for the first time since early September. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 295,000 last week.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, increased by 4,750 to 299,0000. It has held below 300,000 for 12 straight weeks, indicating labor market strength.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data. The data has no relevance to November’s employment report, which is scheduled to be released on Friday, as it falls outside the survey period.

Nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 230,000 last month after rising by 214,000 in October, according to a Reuters survey of economists. November would mark the 10th consecutive month of payroll gains above 200,000.

The unemployment rate is forecast steady at a six-year low of 5.8 percent.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza