The numbers: Initial jobless claims fell 16,000 to 225,000 in the week ended November 26, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would fall 5,000.
The decline reverses a revised gain of 18,000 to 241,000 in the prior week.
Key details: The number of people already collecting jobless benefits rose by 57,000 to 1.61 million. That’s the highest level since February.
On an unadjusted basis, claims fell 50,512 to 198.557.
Big picture: Economists emphasize that it is hard to read the claims data during holiday periods.
In general, claims are expected to start to rise in the wake of the sharp uptick in layoff announcements in recent weeks.
Market reaction: Stocks