Jobless Claims Drop Dramatically

In the U.S., initial claims for unemployment insurance fell sharply to a seasonally adjusted 303,000 last week, 25,000 below the previous week's revised figure of 328,000 and 19,000 below the 322,000 economists generally expected, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Nov. 17. The figure for the week ending Nov. 12 also was 7,000 below the 310,000 per week for claims that existed before the hurricanes of late summer and early fall.

The department's four-week moving average, which smooths out week-to-week changes, also declined last week, falling to 321,500 from the previous week's revised average of 335,000.

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