Jobless claims fell sharply last week despite brutal winter storms in Texas and other parts of the south, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Initial jobless claims for the week ending February 20 totaled 730,000, well below the Dow Jones estimate of 845,000.

That total was a significant decrease from 841,000 the previous week, a number that was down by 20,000.

Despite the decline, the total, the lowest since Nov. 28, was still well above anything the U.S. labor market had seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Persistent claims also fell, falling 101,000 to 4.42 million, the lowest level since March 21, 2020, but still well above anything the labor market had seen before the pandemic.

Other Thursday morning economic reports showed that headline durable goods spending rose 3.4% and excluding transportation 1.4%, both well above Wall Street estimates.

The second reading of the gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of 2020 also showed an increase of 4.1%, a tenth of a percentage point more than the original reading, but slightly below the Dow Jones estimate of 4.2%

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