There were 343,000 first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, down 29,000 from the week before, according to the Employment and Training Administration.
At that level, claims were the lowest they'd been since the first week of October's 342,000.
According to Bloomberg News, last week's number adds to "evidence the labor market is improving." It was well below what economists expected: 369,000. And, Bloomberg adds:
"Jobless claims have dropped 108,000 in the latest four weeks after a Superstorm Sandy-related surge, indicating companies are comfortable with current staffing levels."
The morning's other economic news: Wholesale prices fell 0.8 percent in November from October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. The major reason for the decline was a 4.6 percent drop in energy prices, which in turn was fueled by a 10.1 percent plunge in gasoline costs.