by John Carney
Fewer Americans filed first time applications for unemployment benefits last week, as the labor market appears to be holding up at a stronger level than expected.
New applications for state unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 214,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. This was the fourth consecutive weekly decline, largely reversing the climb in claims in early December.
The higher numbers in the first weeks of December led some to believe the labor market was cooling.
Economists had expected claims to come in at 219,000.