WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs continue to decline amid a strong job market rebound.
Jobless claims fell by 15,000 to 214,000 for the week ending March 12, down from the previous week’s 229,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
First-time applications for jobless aid generally track the pace of layoffs.
The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell to 223,000 from the previous week’s 231,750.
In total, 1,419,000 Americans — a 50-year low — were collecting jobless aid the week that ended March 5, down 71,000 from the week before that.
The numbers were published a day after the Federal Reserve raised key interest rates after weeks of signaling that a hike was coming.
While higher interest rates will lead to higher credit card payments and more expensive mortgages, the Fed says it hopes higher rates will curb inflation, which is currently at a 40-year high.