The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week, pointing to tightening labor market conditions, while layoffs tumbled to a 28-1/2-year low in November.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the week ended Nov. 27, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims, which dropped to 194,000 in the prior week, tend to be volatile around Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday season.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 240,000 applications for the latest week. Claims have declined from a record high of 6.149 million in early April 2020.

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