Applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell by 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 370,000 in the week ended on December 1, said the Ministry of Labour on Thursday. This is the third consecutive decline and the lowest level for a month. The first requests from two weeks ago, were revised up to 395,000 from the initial level of 393,000, based on more complete data, collected at state level.
Economists had expected that claims will fall to 375,000 after the effects of Hurricane Sandy evaporated. The number of applications increased after the storm hit the Mid-Atlantic in late October.
The average rate of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, edged up by 2,250 to 408,000. Four-week average reduces the seasonal fluctuations in weekly data and is seen as a more accurate barometer of the labor market, but it was also deformed by the hurricane.
Besides, the Ministry of Labour said that the continuing claims have dropped by 100,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.21 million during the week ended on November 24. Continuing applications reflect the number of people who have already received benefits.