Initial jobless claims fell 29,000 to 343,000 in the December 8 week, their lowest since early October, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Claims for the week ended December 1 were revised up to 372,000 from the initially reported 370,000.

Continuing jobless claims were 3.198 million in the week of December 1, a 23,000 decline from the upwardly revised 3.221 million, first reported as 3.205 million.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected 370,000 initial and 3.200 million continuing claims.

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