The number of Americans signing up for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week, another sign that the labor market remains strong and most workers enjoy extraordinary job security.

Jobless claims dipped by 2,000 to 210,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week ups and downs, fell by 750 to 211,000.

Overall, 1.8 million Americans were collecting unemployment benefits the week that ended March 16, up 24,000 from the week before.

Applications for unemployment benefits are viewed as a proxy for layoffs and a sign of where the job market is headed. Despite job cuts at Stellantis Electronic Arts, Unilever and elsewhere, overall layoffs remain below pre-pandemic levels. The unemployment rate, 3.9% in February, has come in under 4% for 25 straight months, longest such streak since the 1960s.


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