The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell significantly last week, a sign that the labor market remains strong even as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates in an effort to cool the economy and slow inflation.
Applications for jobless claims fell to 211,000 for the week ending Dec. 10, down by 20,000 from the previous week’s 231,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Jobless claims are seen as a proxy for layoffs, and last week’s level was the lowest in more than two months.
The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out some of the week-to-week volatility, fell by 3,000 to 227,250.
About 1.67 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Dec. 3, up 1,000 from the week before.
American workers have extraordinary job security at the moment, despite an economy some see in danger of tipping into a recession due to the aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve this year. The Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate seven times since March in an effort to slow the economy and bring down prices that are gobbling up Americans’ paychecks.
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