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The final report on the US labor market scheduled for release this year is widely expected to be a wash. Several surveys advise that economists see a flat to slightly higher number for tomorrow's update on weekly jobless claims through December 22. The Capital Spectator's average econometric forecast anticipates a rise to 363,000 in new filings for unemployment benefits (seasonally adjusted) vs. the previously reported 361,000. If the forecast holds, jobless claims for December are on track to post an encouraging decline vs. the year-ago monthly total. That outlook implies that the labor market's growth trend, modest though it is, will roll on.

Here's a closer look at the numbers, followed by brief definitions of the methodologies behind The Capital Spectator's projections.

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ARIMA: An autoregressive integrated moving average model that analyzes the historical record of the data series in R via the "forecast" package.

ES: An exponential smoothing model that analyzes the historical record of the data in R via the "forecast" package.

Source: Previewing The Final Weekly Jobless Claims Report Of The Year