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Unemployment claims in U.S. fall to below 230,000, Labor Dept. says

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Thursday's update showed the fifth straight week in which new claims topped 200,000 -- but the figures have still been below prepandemic levels. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4027626e1fc13e5c67188a76e2e055ff/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Thursday's update showed the fifth straight week in which new claims topped 200,000 -- but the figures have still been below prepandemic levels. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

June 16 (UPI) -- The number of workers who have filed new unemployment claims has declined slightly and the total number of jobless Americans remains at a historic level, the Labor Department said in its weekly update Thursday.

The department said about 229,000 U.S. workers filed new claims last week, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week.

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The total number of unemployment claims was 1.3 million, a level that's near a 50-year low.

Thursday's update showed the fifth straight week in which new claims topped 200,000 -- but the figures have still been below prepandemic levels.

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The report also said the unemployment rate for last week was 0.9%.

Workers are seen at a construction site in New York City. Thursday's unemployment report showed that the U.S. labor market has been resilient in the face of rising inflation. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

"The 4-week moving average was 1,317,500, a decrease of 750 from the previous week's revised average," the department said in a statement. "This is the lowest level for this average since Jan. 10, 1970."

Thursday's assessment shows that the U.S. job market remains strong, even in the face of rising inflation and the threat of a recession. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday ordered an interest rate hike of .75%, which is the largest single increase since 1994.

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"The labor market is extremely tight and inflation is much too high," Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday. "Against this backdrop today, the Federal Open Market Committee raised its policy interest rate by .75% and anticipates ongoing increases to that rate will be appropriate."

The department said earlier this month that the U.S. economy added almost 400,000 new jobs during the month of May, a figure that beat most analysts' expectations.

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