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Fewer Americans File for Jobless Claims as Labor Market Continues to Shrug Off Higher Interest Rates

Fewer Americans have applied for jobless benefits as the labor market continues to thrive despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool it.

The Labor Department reported that filings for unemployment claims for the week ending April 6 fell by 11,000 to 211,000 from the previous week’s 222,000.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out some of the week-to-week swings, fell by 250 to 214,250.

Weekly unemployment claims are considered a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week and a sign of where the job market is headed. They have remained at historically low levels since the pandemic purge of millions of jobs in the spring of 2020.

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark borrowing rate 11 times beginning in March of 2022 in a bid to stifle the four-decade high inflation that took hold after the economy bounced back from the COVID-19 recession of 2020. Part of the Fed’s goal was to loosen the labor market and cool wage growth, which it believes contributed to persistently high inflation.

Many economists thought there was a chance the rapid rate hikes could tip the country into recession, but jobs have remained plentiful and the economy has held up better than expected thanks to strong consumer spending.

Source: Associated Press

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