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Economic Report: First-time U.S. jobless claims unchanged at 205,000 in week ended Dec. 18

The numbers: Initial jobless benefit claims were unchanged at 205,000 in the week ended Dec. 18, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday.  The previous week’s figure was revised down by 1,000.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would total 206,000.

Before the pandemic, initial jobless claims averaged about 220,000 a week.

Big picture: Jobless claims continue to reflect a tight labor market and robust demand for workers as the economy recovers from the pandemic. Seasonal factors tend to make the data volatile over the holidays.

Market reaction: Stocks DJIA, +0.74% SPX, +1.02% were set to open slightly higher Thursday.

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