The number of people who applied for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to 271,000 in mid-November, offering more evidence the labor market has rebounded after a summer dip. Economists polled by the MarketWatch had expected claims to fall to 270,000 in the seven days running from Nov. 8 to Nov. 14. The average of new claims over the past month, meanwhile, rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 270,750, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest level in eight weeks but still an extremely low number. The monthly average smooths out sharp fluctuations in the more volatile weekly report and is seen as a more accurate predictor of labor-market trends. Some 2.18 million people collected weekly unemployment checks in the seven days ended Nov. 7. These so-called continuing claims were 2,000 lower compared to the prior week.
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