Initial unemployment for the week leading up to Christmas were lower than expected and reached levels not seen in over a half-century, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report released on Thursday. 

There were 198,000 initial unemployment claims in the week ending Dec. 25, a slight fall of 8,000 from the previous week. The number was below the 205,000 expected by forecasters and closer to last week’s historic lows.

The moving four-week average of claims was also adjusted to 199,250, coincidentally, a figure last seen on Christmas Day 1969.

More than once in the last month, initial unemployment claims reached lows not seen in decades, something readily touted by the Biden administration. On the other hand, it has proven difficult to keep claims close to these levels though they nevertheless remain within range of pre-pandemic figures. 

Continuing claims, which measure the week behind the headline numbers in the Labor Department data, stood at 2,177,355, an increase of 39,363 from the previous week.