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Economic Report: U.S. jobless claims drop 7,000 to 222,000 and fall back to 45-year low

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Companies say the biggest problem is today’s labor market is finding enough good workers. That’s why layoffs are near a 45-year low.

The numbers: Initial U.S. jobless claims fell by 7,000 to 222,000 in the seven days ended Feb. 17, marking the second lowest level since the end of the 2007-2009 recession. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast claims to total 230,000.

The more stable monthly average of claims declined by 2,250 to 226,000, the government said Thursday.

The number of people already collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, dropped by 73,000 to 1.88 million.

What happened: Applications for jobless benefits fell in most states.

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