Jobless Claims Decline In U.S.

Although manufacturing layoffs in Missouri, Ohio and Texas added claims for unemployment insurance in the U.S. last week, fewer hurricane-related claims helped drive the overall figure for initial jobless claims down to a seasonally adjusted 318,000, some 13,000 fewer than the previous week's revised number of 331,000, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Dec. 22.

The department's four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week changes and is regarded as a better indicator of underlying labor market conditions, also fell last week. The average was 324,500, a decrease of 4.750 from the previous week's revised average of 329,250.

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