Shares of the country's big home builders rose in premarket trading, led by Hovnanian Enterprises in New Jersey.
New home construction for the year rose 8.1 percent, thanks to low mortgage rates and a recovering job market.
That trend continued last week.
The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 37,000 to a seasonally adjusted 335,000. That's comparable to numbers seen just after the recession began.
The weekly numbers are subject to a lot of seasonal volatility, but the overall trend suggests an improving landscape.
Even the ongoing fight in Washington, which some economists had feared would spook employers, did not slow the pace of hiring.