The numbers: The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell sharply in the week before Thanksgiving, putting jobless claims back near historic lows and reflecting the persistent strength in the U.S. labor market.
Initial jobless claims declined by 15,000 to 213,000 in the seven days ended Nov. 23, the government said Wednesday. Last week claims had touched a five-month high.
Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast new claims to total 220,000 after seasonal adjustments. The report came out a day earlier due to the holiday on Thursday.