The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, suggesting a rapid tightening of the labor market that bolsters expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates next week.

While another report on Thursday showed layoffs announced by U.S.-based employers rising to a seven-month high in November, the overall trend in job cuts remained low.

“Layoffs on the part of corporations are few and far between as good help is hard to find this far along in one of the longest economic expansions in the record books,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

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