Jobless claims dropped lower than expected to a seasonally adjusted 343,000 in the report issued Thursday morning, December 13.
The Labor Department said the numbers are more volatile this time of year because some industries have planned layoffs.
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The week ending December 1 saw its numbers revised upward to a seasonally adjusted 372,000 from the previously reported 370,000.
Continuing claims fell by 23,000 to 3,198,000 in the week ending December 1. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.
Retail sales grew modestly as expected but lower, coming in at up .3%, than the .5% estimate by economists.
Year-over-year comparisons saw retail sales climb over 3.7% in November.
Superstorm Sandy had a mixed effect
on retail sales. Store closures from store damage, power outages, and flooding were a drag on sales for some while others saw sales increase as those affected replaced goods and began rebuilding and repairing damages.