Jobless Claims Drop By 42,000

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Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell sharply last week in a possible sign that the job market is continuing to gain strength. First-time claims for jobless benefits dropped by 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000 for the week ending Dec. 21, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, which smooths out volatility, rose by 4,250 to 348,000.

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