The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell last week, signaling a strong labor market that's continuing to tighten.
During the week ending on 2 December, claims decreased by 2,000 to reach 236,000, according to the Department of Labor. This was in line with what economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected.
A report Friday is projected to show payrolls increased by nearly 200,000 in November, while the jobless rate held at an nearly 17-year low of 4.1%. The number dipped to 4.1% in October, the lowest reading in nearly two decades.
Still, jobless claims data can be volatile.
The four-week moving average of continuing claims still inched up to 1,912,750, an increase of 1,000 from the previous week's revised average of 1,911,750.
Recently, the measure of workers on longer-term unemployment rolls had been trending near the lowest levels since 1973, while the weekly unemployment applications have held below 300,000 for more than two-and-a-half years, the longest streak since the 1970s too.
Claims-taking process in Puerto Rico has also still not returned to normal, the department said.