Initial jobless claims dropped by 22,000 to 432,000 for the week ending Dec. 26, the lowest number of initial claims reported for any week last year, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Continuing claims dropped by 57,000 to 4.981 million in the week ending Dec. 19 and are at their lowest level since early February. They have steadily dropped from a high of 6.904 million in late June.

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