Some of the drop can be attributed to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but the effects of the megastorm, which hit New York and New Jersey in late October, have to be a smaller part of the picture each week.
Regardless, initial jobless benefits claims for the week fell to 393,000, dropping closer to the 369,000 figure posted just before the hurricane hit.
The Commerce Department revised its third-quarter gross domestic product estimate, saying the economy grew 2.7 percent in the quarter compared with the second quarter.
The report trumps an October report that pegged economic growth at 2 percent.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 36.71 points, or 0.28 percent, to 13,021.82.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq index added 20.25 points, or 0.68 percent, to 3,012.03. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 6.02 points, or 0.43 percent, to 1,415.95.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,168 stocks advanced and 858 declined on a volume of 3.3 billion shares traded.
The 10-year treasury note rose 4/32 to yield 1.619 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2975 from Wednesday's $1.2953. The dollar rose to 82.13 yen from 82.08 yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.99 percent, 92.53 points, to 9,400.88.
Britain's FTSE 100 index added 1.15 percent, 67.02 points, to 5,870.30.
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