WASHINGTON — Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, continuing a nearly two-year trend that suggests a solid job market.

The Labor Department says weekly requests for jobless aid fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 265,000. The less volatile four-week moving average for claims was 263,000.

Weekly jobless claims below 300,000 often point to healthy hiring levels. The low level of applications indicates that employers are holding onto workers and possibly looking to expand. Claims have stayed below 300,000 for 95 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970.

Employers have added 2.25 million jobs over the past 12 months. And in November, the unemployment rate fell to a nine-year low of 4.6 percent.


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