The number of unemployment claims filed by people in the U.S. dropped significantly last week, to 338,000.
But analysts also warn the holiday season causes even more volatility in jobless claim figures. The claims figure for the week ending in Dec. 14 was the highest since March, and claims jumped around 75,000 during a two-week span. Before that, claims had reached their lowest level in years.
The four-week rolling average for claims, a more stable figure, rose by 4,250 to 348,000. That level still suggests a healthy job market.
In fact, the jobless rate fell to 7 percent in November, after the economy added 203,000 jobs. The Federal Reserve also sees the economy strengthening, announcing this month that it would begin to back off its stimulus efforts.