NEW YORK -- U.S. weekly jobless claims fell more than expected for the week ending Dec. 21, the government said on Thursday.
First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell 42,000 to 338,000 from an adjusted 380,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said. Analysts had projected that 350,000 claims would be filed.
Analysts caution that data during the holiday season can be volatile and say week-to-week fluctuations should not be given too much weight.
The decline of 42,000 was the greatest in a weekly report since November 2012.
The four-week moving average, which smooths out weekly movements to a greater extent, came in at 348,000, up from 343,750 last week.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 7% in November, the lowest level in five years.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013