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Jobless claims fall again despite Fed pressure on rates

Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to loosen the labor market with higher interest rates in its bid to slow the economy.

U.S. jobless claims for the week ended Feb. 11 fell by 1,000 last week to 194,000, from 195,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. It is the fifth week in a row that claims were below 200,000.

Jobless claims generally represent the number of layoffs in the United States.

The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out some of the weekly ups and downs, rose 500 to 189,500. It is the fourth week in a row that the four-week moving average has been below 200,000.

About 1.7 million people received unemployment benefits in the week ending Feb. 4, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week.

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