US applications for jobless benefits lowest in 15 weeks

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. applications for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in 15 weeks as the job market continues to show resiliency in the face of attempts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy.

The number of Americans applying for jobless aid for the week ending Jan. 7 fell by 1,000 to 205,000, from 206,000 the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The four-week moving average of claims, which softens some of the week-to-week volatility, fell by 1,750 to 212,500.

Jobless claims are generally viewed as a proxy for layoffs, which have been relatively low since the pandemic wiped out millions of jobs in the spring of 2020.

The labor market is closely monitored by Federal Reserve policymakers, who raised interest rates seven times last year in a bid to slow job growth and bring down stubbornly high inflation.

About 1.63 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Dec. 31, a decline of 63,000 from the week before.

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