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Some 205,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, the same as the prior week, despite new pressures on some employers dealing with the latest wave of covid cases.

The figures are not too far off a five-decade-low reached earlier in December, and they’re still far below the 900,000 who were claiming benefits in January, when the economy was still struggling under the worst of the pandemic.

Still, the labor market could face new strain amid skyrocketing coronavirus cases in parts of the U.S., which has forced some schools, day cares and restaurants to shut down, due to thinly staffed workforces getting sick.

Data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis on Thursday morning showed prices rose 5.7% in November compared with the year before and 0.6% compared with the previous month. The metric is the preferred gauge used by the Federal Reserve, which is grappling with how to rein in soaring inflation - namely by raising interest rates next year - without triggering other consequences for the economy.


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