Weekly unemployment claims fall to a lower than expected 407K

Seasonal factors tied to Thanksgiving may be at play yet the trend for jobless claims is clearly positive.

Initial claims fell 34,000 in the November 20 week to a far lower-than-expected level of 407K (prior week revised slightly higher to 441K). The four-week average is down 7,500 to 436K for a nearly 20K improvement in the month-ago comparison.

Continuing claims fell for the third week in a row and at 142K posted their biggest decline since July. The four-week average fell 51,000 to 4.309 MM. The unemployment rate for insured workers fell one tenth to 3.3% for its lowest rate of the recovery.  Initial claims are still an elevated level, but the sustained move below 450K without any special factors contributing to it is a reminder that the labor market is growing less stressed.

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