WASHINGTON — The U.S. job market remains healthy as fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, despite the Federal Reserve’s rapid interest rate hikes this year intended to bring down inflation and tighten the labor market.
Applications for jobless claims for the week ending Nov. 12 fell by 4,000 to 222,000 from 226,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average rose by 2,000 to 221,000.
The total number of Americans collecting unemployment aid rose by 13,000 to 1.51 million for the week ending Nov. 5. a seven-month high, but still not a troubling level.
Applications for jobless claims, which generally represent layoffs in the U.S., have remained historically low this year, deepening the challenges the Federal Reserve faces as it raises interest rates to try to bring inflation down from near a 40-year high.