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US jobless claims fall for 3rd consecutive week

U.S. initial claims for unemployment benefits fell for the third consecutive week, decreasing to 236,000 for the week ended Dec. 2 from the previous week's unrevised level of 238,000, the Labor Department said.

The four-week moving average decreased to 241,500 from unrevised 242,250 in the previous week.

Claims-taking procedures continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit. In addition, claims processing in Puerto Rico has still not returned to normal, the Labor Department said.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4% for the week ended Nov. 25. Insured unemployment decreased to 1,908,000 for the week ended Nov. 25 from the previous week's revised level of 1,960,000.