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By Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Initial jobless claims fell more than expected last week, underscoring an improved labor market.

First-time applications for unemployment benefits fell 6,000 from the previous week to 289,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists had expected claims for the week ended Dec. 13 to be 293,000, according to FactSet.

After a slow start to the year, the economy is now on pace to create the most new jobs since 1999. In November, the U.S. added 321,000 jobs, the largest gain in nearly three years.

Jobless claims now hover at 2000 levels.

The less-volatile four-week moving average for claims fell 750 to 298,750.

AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan

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Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Attorney General Merrick Garland

Photo by The White House

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The Department of Justice had the kind of pro-police reform week that doesn't happen every year. In a seven-day period, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, an overhaul on how to handle law enforcement oversight deals, and a promise to make sure the Justice Department wasn't funding agencies that engage in racial discrimination.

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