Initial jobless claims fell slightly last week to 297,000.
Expectations were for claims to total 295,000, down from last week’s 313,000.
Last week’s number was also revised up to 314,000.
The four-week moving average of claims also rose slightly, to 299,000 from last week’s revised average of 294,250.
Following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro said, “In one line: The trend probably is not rising, despite appearances to the contrary.”
Shepherdson added, “We have no reason to think the trend is claims is turning higher, so we expected a further decline next week. That said, the trend probably has now flattened off, but at an extraordinarily low level, consistent with very strong payroll numbers.”
Thursday’s claims report comes after Wednesday’s ADP private payrolls report showed US companies added 208,000 jobs in November, and comes ahead of Friday’s big November jobs report.