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Gold prices holding steady as U.S. jobless claims fall to lowest level since 1969

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(Kitco News) - The U.S. labor market hit another milestone last week as less than 200,000 American's applied for first-time unemployment benefits.

Not only have weekly jobless claims fallen to pre-pandemic levels, but the report said that this is the lowest level of claims since November 1969.

Wednesday, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Labor Department said that weekly jobless claims fell by 71,000 to 199,000, down from the previous week's revised estimate of 268,000 claims.

The data was significantly better than expected as economists were looking for a reading of around 259,000 claims.

The four-week moving average for new claims – often viewed as a more reliable measure of the labor market since it flattens week-to-week volatility – dropped to 252,250, down by 21,000 claims from the previous week.

"This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020, when it was 225,500," the report said.

Continuing jobless claims, which represent the number of people already receiving benefits, were at 2.049 million during the week ending November 13, down by 60,000 from the previous week's revised level.

"This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since March 14, 2020, when it was 1,770,000," the report said.

While the latest employment data provided an initial shock to markets, some economists warn investors that the headline is a little deceiving.

Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics said that seasonal factors appear to be impacting the latest weekly data.

“The large fall in jobless claims to just 199,000 last week, from 268,000 appears to be due to the later timing of Thanksgiving this year throwing off the seasonal adjustment. In non-seasonally adjusted terms, claims rose by 18,000 to 259,000.

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