The number of people in the U.S. who are filing for unemployment continues to fall, according to a report by Reuters.
For the week ending Dec. 21, claims for unemployment benefits fell by an estimated 13,000 to 222,000. The drop was forecasted to be at 224,000.
There was a surge in signups earlier in the month, which seems to be linked to a later Thanksgiving Day this year compared to 2018.
U.S. stocks rose modestly, but positively, amid optimism that there will soon be a resolution to the trade dispute between China and the U.S. On Tuesday (Dec. 24), President Donald Trump said he and China’s President Xi Jinping will have a ceremony to commemorate the first phase of the trade deal, which both parties agreed to earlier this month.
Despite the trade war, lower business investment and less manufacturing in the country, the labor market has been strong. November saw the unemployment rate fall to 3.5 percent, which is the lowest in almost 50 years.
The strength of the labor market underpins the amount of consumer spending on a national level and helps to keep the economy on a growth trajectory, despite the potential complications from a stymied global economy as well as the ongoing trade tensions.
The number of people getting benefits after a full week of aid dropped 6,000 to 1.72 million through the week ending Dec. 14.
In retail news, sales in the United States rose less than expected in November. The Commerce Department said retail sales increased 0.2 percent last month. Data from October was revised to indicate that retail sales rose 0.4 percent in lieu of climbing 0.3 percent as reported previously.
Economists polled by Reuters had predicted that retail sales would accelerate 0.5 percent last month. With the exclusion of gasoline, automobiles, food services and building materials, retail sales edged up 0.1 percent in November after increasing by an unrevised 0.3 percent the month before.