“Variant winter weather, the floating timing of the Thanksgiving holiday and preparations for the holiday-shopping season that differ from prior years tend to make historical comparisons difficult,” Simons wrote. “Volatility will probably continue to be elevated until the end of the year, but we expect that claims will drift lower again.”
The median forecast of 48 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a decline to 288,000, with estimates ranging from 280,000 to 300,000. The prior week’s claims were revised from an initial reading of 291,000.
The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 17,000 to 2.32 million in the week ended Nov. 15, the fewest since December 2000.
In that same period, the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits fell to 1.7%, the lowest since November 2000, from 1.8% the prior week, the report showed.
Initial jobless claims reflect weekly firings and typically decrease before job growth can accelerate.