WASHINGTON — The number of unemployed workers filing for jobless benefits fell by 2,000 last week to 236,000, the lowest level in five weeks and further evidence of the strength in the labor market.
Last week’s applications total was the third consecutive weekly drop, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 750 to 241,500.
The number of people receiving aid fell by 52,000 to 1.91 million, remaining near a four-decade low set last month.
Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs. The weekly number has been below 300,000 for close to three years, a stretch not seen in more than four decades. The government will release the November unemployment figure on Friday and private economists believe that figure will show unemployment remaining at 4.1 percent.
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