Emily Angelo looks through job ads at the Pennsylvania Career Link office located in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, on Oct 11, 2017. (Reuters photo)

WASHINGTON: Applications for unemployment benefits in the US declined to a five-week low, consistent with a resilient labour market, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.

Applications for jobless benefits below the 300,000 are considered consistent with a steady job market. Claims hovering near the lowest level in more than four decades also show employers are reluctant to reduce staff amid the current shortage of qualified workers.

A report Friday is projected to show payrolls increased by almost 200,000 in November, while the jobless rate held at an almost 17-year low of 4.1%.

Unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.4%.

The Labor Department said jobless claims were estimated for the Virgin Islands as the territory continues to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria months ago

Claims-taking process in Puerto Rico has also still not returned to normal, the department said.

News Reporter

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