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The number of Americans filing for jobless claims fell last week despite more layoff announcements from high-profile companies recently.

Applications for unemployment benefits fell by 9,000 to 218,000 for the week ending Feb. 3, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average of claims, which evens out some of the weekly volatility, increased by 3,750 to 212,250.

Weekly unemployment claims are seen as a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week. They have remained at extraordinarily low levels despite efforts by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cool the economy.

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate 11 times beginning in March of 2022 in an effort to bring down the four-decade high inflation that took hold after an unusually strong economic rebound from the COVID-19 recession of 2020.

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