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US jobless claims low ahead of Fed rate meeting
[WASHINGTON] The last weekly report on US jobless insurance claims before the Federal Reserve meets on a long-awaited interest rate rise showed a fairly tight labour market Thursday.
The Labour Department said that initial claims for unemployment insurance, a sign of the pace of layoffs, were 282,000 in the week to December 5.
That was 13,000 up from the previous week, but still within the range of the past six months. The four-week moving average was 270,750, compared to 295,000 a year ago.
The data supported other consistent signs of firming in the labour market that the Fed wants to see before raising the benchmark federal funds rate after holding it at zero for seven years.
The Fed meets Tuesday and Wednesday, with markets overwhelmingly expecting a 0.25 per cent hike in the rate.