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U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Pull Back Off Five-Month High

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A day earlier than usual due to the holiday on Thursday, the Labor Department released a report on Wednesday showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended November 23rd.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 213,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level of 228,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 221,000 from the 227,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The upwardly revised number of jobless claims in the previous week was the highest since the week ended June 22nd.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also edged down to 219,750, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week's revised average of 221,250.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also slid by 57,000 to 1.640 million in the week ended November 16th. With the drop, continuing claims hit their lowest level since August of 1973.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell to 1,680,500, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week's revised average of 1,693,500.

Next Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of November.

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