Initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to 213,000 in the November 23 week from 228,000 in the prior week (previously 227,000). The decline marks a return to the underlying trend after briefly turning higher in recent weeks with two major strikes, wildfires in the West, and the arrival of a period of severe cold in parts of the US. The four-week moving average is starting to unwind the higher readings and fell 1,500 to 219,750 in the November 23 week.
The Labor Department reported no special factors in the week and no states estimated claims.
The level of continuing claims fell 57,000 to 1.640 million in the November 16 week. The insured rate of unemployment dipped one-tenth to 1.1%, matching the historic lows in the September 14 and 21 weeks. There is simply very little slack in the labor market and it is extraordinary to see a enough change in the rate down from the 1.2% that has prevailed with few exceptions since May 2018.
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