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As Layoffs Fade, Fewer Workers Apply for Jobless Aid

The four-week average for claims fell by 6,000

Jobless claims fell to 215,000 for the week ending Feb. 26, down by 18,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It's the lowest weekly level since mid-December, when the Omicron wave pushed up layoffs as businesses closed.

The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 6,000 to 230,500.

"Claims are headed back to the pre-Omicron lows in the wake of the collapse in cases and hospitalizations," Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a research note. "Demand for discretionary services is rebounding strongly, easing the pressure on businesses hit hard by people's retreat from social activity when the variant emerged."

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