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Unemployment Rate

Applications for US jobless aid fell sharply last week

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week in a sign of a stable job market despite the slowing global economy hitting stocks and commodities.

THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for jobless aid fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 269,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined slightly to 281,250. The number of people receiving benefits has declined 4.6 percent to 2.2 million from a year ago.

THE TAKEAWAY: U.S. employers still appear to expecting the economy to grow — and a need for more workers. Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The relatively low number suggests that companies are holding...