Analyst sees 'pretty strong' Friday jobs report

STORY: The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits dropped to a three-month low last week while layoffs fell 43% in December, pointing to a still-tight labor market that could force the Federal Reserve to keep hiking interest rates.

Labor market resilience was underscored by other data on Thursday showing private employers hired far more workers than expected last month. The reports suggested the economy ended 2022 on solid footing, despite a raft of layoffs in the technology industry as well as in interest rate-sensitive sectors like finance and housing.

The Labor Department is expected to report that non-farm payrolls increased by 200,000 in December, down from 263,000 in the previous month.