Filed claims for unemployment benefits fell by 23,000 last week, reaching a nine-month low. The number of jobless claims filed last week reached a seasonally-adjusted 381,000, which is 14,000 less than economists predicted for the time period.
The four-week average for jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 393,250, showing continued promise for economic recovery. The four-week average has stayed below 400,000 for four straight weeks, which economists say is a sign of an economic turnaround.
Last week, the Labor Department reported that the national unemployment rate fell to 8.6% in November, hitting the lowest point since March 2009.