Applications for US unemployment aid fall to 49-year low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since late 1969, a sign that employers are holding onto their workers despite signs of a slowing economy.

The Labor Department says weekly applications for jobless aid fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000. That is the lowest since the week of December 6, 1969.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the drop to such a low level indicates that companies are cutting very few workers. That’s a reassuring sign as other data, such as weak consumer and business spending, and sluggish growth overseas, points to slower U.S. growth this year.

A report Wednesday from payroll processor ADP found that businesses added just 129,000 jobs in March, down from 197,000 the previous month.

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