Applications for jobless benefits declined last week

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FILE – Hiring sign is displayed outside of a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. Labor Department releases weekly report on unemployment benefits on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. On Thursday the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits came back down last week, hovering near levels suggesting the U.S. labor market has been largely unaffected by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes.

Applications for jobless aid fell to 225,000 for the week ending Nov. 26, a decline of 16,000 from the previous week’s 241,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out week-to-week swings, inched up by 1,750 to 227,000.

Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs, and viewed with other employment data, shows that American workers are enjoying extraordinary job security at the moment, despite an economy with some glaring weaknesses.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 1.61 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Nov. 19, up 57,000 from the week before.

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