Jobless claims up from last week

Slightly more Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market continues to show strength, even as the Federal Reserve has tried for nearly a year to slow the economy by raising its main lending rate.

Applications for jobless claims for the week ending Dec. 17 inched up by 2,000 to 216,000 from the previous week’s 214,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Jobless claims are generally viewed as a representation of layoffs.

The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out some of the week-to-week swings, fell by 6,250 to 221,750.

About 1.67 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Dec. 10, about 6,000 fewer than the week before.