There are more signs of a pickup in the U.S. economy: fewer people filing unemployment claims and increasing demand for durable goods by businesses.
The Labor Department says the number of Americans who filed for jobless benefits fell by 11,000 to 351,000 for the week ending November 22. That was the lowest level since January, 2001.
Overall, the total number of Americans on the unemployment rolls fell by 105,000, to 3.37 million, the lowest level since February.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reports new orders for durable goods, defined as manufactured goods designed to last at least three years, rose 3.3 percent in October, spurred by heavy demand for new aircraft and communications equipment. The rise far exceeded most economists' expectations.
In other news, U.S. consumer spending held steady in October, while personal income rose by 0.4 percent.
Tuesday, the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew at an 8.2 percent annual rate for the third quarter, a one percent upward revision from last month's estimate.