WASHINGTON — Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits were down more than expected in the November 16 week, dropping by 21,000 to 323,000 for the week including Veterans Day, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Expectations for this week's report were for a claims level of 335,000, a decline of 4,000 from the previously reported 339,000 level in November 9 week. The initial claims level in that week was revised up by 5,000 to 344,000. The latest claims total was the lowest since the Sept. 28 week when it was 308,000.

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