The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week fell from a five-month high, suggesting sustained labor market healing that could lead to further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes next year.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 271,000 for the week ended Dec. 12, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's claims were unrevised.
It was the 41st straight week that claims remained below 300,000, a threshold associated with strong labor market conditions. That is the longest such run since the early 1970s.