Washington, Dec 17 (IANS/EFE) Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the US fell by 11,000 last week to 271,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.
The figure was in line with forecasts after the previous week saw claims reach a five-month high of 282,000.
The rolling four-week average of claims, regarded as a more reliable indicator of trends in the labour market, dipped by 250 to 270,500.
The four-week average has been below or slightly above 300,000 for 41 consecutive weeks.
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits shrank by 7,000 in the week that ended on December 5 and stands at 2.24 million.
Unemployment remained unchanged in November at 5 percent as the economy created 211,000 jobs, the Labor Department said early this month in a report that also adjusted the numbers for September and October to show that 35,000 more jobs were created than initially estimated.
The Labor Department’s broader U6 measure of unemployment, which includes people working part-time who would prefer full-time and workers who have given up looking for a job, remained near double digits in November, at 9.9 percent.
The labour-force participation rate came in last month at 62.5 percent, the lowest since October 1977.