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US jobless claims fall for second straight week

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New US claims for jobless benefits fell slightly for the second week in a row, continuing a record streak of low levels, the Labor Department said Thursday.

[WASHINGTON] New US claims for jobless benefits fell slightly for the second week in a row, continuing a record streak of low levels, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The result comes a day after the Federal Reserve decided to increase interest rates for only the second time in a decade, in part based on the health of labour markets.

In the week ending Dec 10, initial claims for unemployment benefits slipped to 254,000, a decrease of 4,000 below the prior week. An analyst consensus had forecast a decrease of only 2,000 claims.

Though the figures can be volatile, the level of unemployment claims can be used to gauge the prevalence of layoffs and the health of jobs markets.

The latest week marked 93 consecutive weeks of unemployment claims below 300,000, a streak not seen since 1970, according to the department. The four-week moving average rose, however, by 5,250 claims to 257,750.

AFP

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