Jobless Claims Dip
New claims for jobless benefits fell last week by 94,000, to 492,000, on a seasonally adjusted basis. That's welcome news on its face, but may have as much to do with seasonal issues (the reporting week was shortened by the Christmas holiday) rather than any improvement in the labor market.
The number of continuing claims -- a better measure of labor market trends -- continued rising, topping 4.5 million for the most recent week measured.
Data on December's unemployment rate will be released next week.
-- Howard Schneider
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