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First Cut: Initial jobless claims below expectations in December 15 week

Initial jobless claims were up 8,000 to 214,000 in the December 15 week, a rise from the 206,000 (previously 204,000) in the prior week. The level was below the median expectation in a market survey and was another piece of evidence that the job market remains strong as the year winds down. Outside of some noise in the data related to natural disasters, the underlying trend remains near decades-lows and shows little evidence of altering that trend.

Continuing claims were up 27,000 in the December 8 week to 1.688 million, a relatively small gain that is in line with normal week-to-week movements. Continuing claims also remain near historic lows not seen in decades.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.2% for a third week in a row. While it is off the recent record lows it is still consistent with a very tight labor market.

 

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