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US jobless claims dip in mid-March



New claims for US unemployment insurance edged downwards in mid-March, continuing a record stretch of low-levels,reported Thursday.

With an unemployment rate below five percent since May, the tightening labor market has seen employers forgo layoffs out of fear they may not be able to replace the workers they let go.

Though they can see large week-to-week swings, jobless claims can be used to gauge the prevalence of layoffs and the health of labor markets.

For the week ending March 11, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 2,000 to 241,000, seasonally adjusted, a result largely in line with analyst expectations, and retracing a small part of the prior week’s jump.

The result marks seven consecutive weeks with claims below 250,000.

The less volatile four-week moving average was essentially flat, up just 750 to 237,250, having remained below 250,000 for nine weeks.

Jobless benefits claims have been below 300,000 for more than two years, a streak not recorded since 1970.

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