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Solid U.S. retail sales boost economic outlook

By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales rose solidly in November, adding to signs of a strengthening economy that could draw the Federal Reserve closer to reducing the pace of monetary stimulus. The upbeat picture was clouded somewhat by other data on Thursday showing the biggest jump in a year in first-time claims for jobless benefits. Economists, however, largely dismissed that report as skewed by a late Thanksgiving and other factors.

U.S. initial jobless claims fall to two-month low

U.S. initial jobless claims fall to two-month low WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The number of Americans initially applying for unemployment aid unexpectedly edged down last week to the lowest level in more than two months, the Labor Department reported Thursday. In the week ending Nov. 30, the advance figure of seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits fell sharply by 23, 000 to 298,000, the lowest level since early September. Economists were expecting a mild uptick to 320,000 from an initially reading of 316,000 in the previous week.

U.S. stocks open lower on better-than-expected GDP, jobs data

NEW YORK, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened lower Thursday as an acceleration of the U.S. third-quarter economic growth and an unexpected drop in jobless claims last week fueled fears that the U.S. Federal Reserve may soon begin to taper its monetary stimulus. The U.S. economy increased at an annual rate of 3.6 percent in the third quarter before the 16-day partial government shutdown, up from an initial reading of 2.8 percent, said the U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday.

US weekly jobless claims sharply lower

First-time claims for US unemployment benefits fell sharply in the last week of November to 298,000, far below the average of recent months, the Labor Department said Thursday. New jobless claims in the week to November 30 were down 23,000 from the previous week, though the data may have been affected by the Thanksgiving Day holiday last Thursday. The low number pulled the average for the past four weeks down by 10,750 to 322,250. That compared to nearly 403,000 a year ago, suggesting a steady tightening of the labor market.

Tired of excuses, Danish city wakes students at home

Social workers in a wealthy Copenhagen neighbourhood have begun making house calls to wake up students with high rates of absenteeism, sparking accusations that Denmark's welfare state has become too intrusive. "There have been conflicts, but the people we've sent out are trained to handle situations like that. Of course there's been resistance," said Barbro Lundqvist, a social worker in the upscale Oesterbro district. After a one-year trial, 33 percent of the targeted children, who were between seven and 15 years old, had begun attending school regularly.

No more work email from home? Employers step in to prevent burnout among staffers

LONDON - Volkswagen turns off some employees' email 30 minutes after their shifts end. Goldman Sachs is urging junior staff to take weekends off. BMW is planning new rules that will keep workers from being contacted after hours.

Tips to avoid legal pitfalls at office holiday parties

TORONTO - 'Tis the season of the office holiday party, a time when the combination of awkward mingling with co-workers plus alcohol creates a social minefield. But, experts say, one faux pas can easily turn bad behaviour into a legal mess. As the Christmas/holiday/end-of-year party season kicks off, employment law experts offer some tips on how both employers and employees can avoid liability while still partaking in some holiday cheer. Don't offer alcohol

Hollande backs away from deadline on unemployment

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande backed away on Thursday from a pledge to bring unemployment down by the end of the year, saying instead that it would take as long as necessary. The unpopular Socialist leader has staked his credibility on turning around the euro zone's second-biggest economy and lowering the jobless rate.

US weekly jobless claims dip unexpectedly

First-time claims for US unemployment benefits fell 10,000 last week to 316,000, according to government data released Wednesday. The data for the week ending November 23 was better than analyst forecasts, which had projected initial jobless claims to increase to 330,000. The four-week moving average, which helps iron out week-over-week volatility, declined 7,500 to 331,750, the Department of Labor said.

Jobless claims unexpectedly fall last week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, offering signs of a steady improvement in the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 316,000, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 3,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had expected first-time applications to rise to 330,000 last week.
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