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Jobless claims down last week despite stock market decline

The number of claims is at the lowest level since the late 1960s

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The number of workers who filed for jobless benefits fell slightly last week, despite the decline in the stock markets, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Initial claims for the week ending Dec. 22 was 216,000. That figure was down by 1,000 from the prior week, according to a news release Thursday.

"The previous week's level was revised up by 3,000 from 214,000 to 217,000," the Labor Department said. "The 4-week moving average was 218,000, a decrease of 4,750 from the previous week's revised average."

The number of continuing unemployment benefit claims fell by 4,000 in the week ending on Dec. 15 to 1,701,000, from the previous week's level, the data showed. There's a one-week lag in reporting of continuing claims.

The drop in financial markets and the Federal Reserve's recent interest rate increase has some analysts concerned that the economy's growth could be halted.

"I think people need to take a deep breath," Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at economic consulting firm MFR, Inc., told the Wall Street Journal. "The economy is going to slow down over the next year. But collapse? No."

The U.S. unemployment rate is sitting at 3.7 percent, the lowest level in about 50 years.

Similarly, jobless claims for the year are tracking at the lowest levels since the late 1960s. At the time, the U.S. population was about 62 percent of its current size, according to the Journal.

One last thing…
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