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WASHINGTON: New applications for US unemployment benefits declined for a fifth straight week, the government said Thursday, as the healing in the labor market continues.

The Labor Department reported 269,000 new seasonally adjusted unemployment benefit claims filed in the week that ended October 30, fewer than expected and the lowest weekly figure since they soared into the millions when the Covid-19 pandemic began.

All told, nearly 2.7 million people were receiving benefits under all jobless aid programs as of the week ended October 16, the latest for which data was available.

US private employers added 571,000 jobs in October: ADP

Jobless claims have trended lower throughout 2021 as vaccines allowed businesses to reopen and laid-off workers to resume employment, though the Delta wave of Covid-19 slowed the decline in recent weeks.

On Friday, the Labor Department will release the jobs report for October, which could show hiring rebounding after weak September payrolls data, though it will not encompass the week of the latest claims report.

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