Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. fell much more than expected last week, hitting their lowest level in two-and-a-half months.
The U.S. Department of Labor said that the number of individuals applying for initial jobless benefits in the seven days ended Dec. 8 decreased by 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 206,000.
Analysts expected jobless claims to fall by 7,000 to 226,000 last week from the previous week’s total of 233,000, which was upwardly revised from a prior reading of 231,000.
The four-week moving average was 224,750, a decline of 3,750 from the previous week. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.
Continuing jobless claims in the week ended Dec. 1 rose to 1.661 million from 1.636 million in the preceding week, compared to expectations for an increase to 1.650 million. These claims reflect people who recently lost their jobs and are already receiving benefits.