The numbers: The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell sharply in the week before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, putting jobless claims back near historic lows and reflecting the persistent strength in the U.S. labor market. Initial jobless claims declined by 15,000 to 213,000 in the seven days ended Nov. 23, the government said Wednesday. Last week claims had touched a five-month high.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast new claims to total 220,000 after seasonal adjustments. The report came out a day earlier due to the U.S. holiday on Thursday. Read: U.S. consumer confidence falls for the fourth month in a row on labor-market worries What happened: Jobless claims are often volatile during the holiday season that begins in November, a month that includes Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. Shifting dates of Thanksgiving in particular can play havoc on the government’s efforts to adjust the data for seasonal swings in employment. That’s what looks to have happened this month. By and large, jobless claims have ranged around 220,000 or less f
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