Economists expected 250,000 new jobless claims to be filed during the week ending January 13, but claims fell to a 45-year low of 220,000. Any number below 300,000 in an economy as large as the United States’ reflects a healthy economy.

The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced on Thursday that it was voluntarily raising its minimum wage for new workers to $11 an hour starting next month.

The market may be telling us about the ouctome of the mid-term elections as well.

Once again economists’ forecasts fell short in November, with the surging economy generating 228,000 new jobs compared to estimates of fewer than 200,000.

Preliminary numbers show that online sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday surged to record highs, with Cyber Monday sales likely to do the same.

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