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Jobless Claims Were Nearly Unchanged Last Week

There were 339,000 first-time claims filed for unemployment insurance last week, down slightly from 341,000 the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

According to The Associated Press, the slight decline is "evidence that layoffs are low and hiring will likely remain steady."

Bloomberg News focuses on the fact that claims dipped "to the lowest level in a month as the volatility typical during the year-end holidays waned."

This is the only glimpse into the labor market's health we'll get this week. Most months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' data on the unemployment rate and job growth are released on the first Friday. But because of the holidays, the December report won't be ready until Jan. 10.

In November, according to the bureau's first glance at that month, the jobless rate fell to a 5-year-low of 7 percent and 203,000 jobs were added to payrolls.

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