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By Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

In a positive sign for the labor market, initial claims for jobless benefits plunged last week to the lowest level in 15 years, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Applications for unemployment benefits fell 43,000 to 265,000 for the week ended Jan. 24, according to the report. Analysts had expected filings to come in at 300,000, according to FactSet.

However, the sharp drop came during a shortened week that included Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Holidays can skew the weekly numbers, because people have less opportunity to apply because of the closure of state offices.

Even without a holiday, the week-to-week reports can be volatile.

The four-week moving average for jobless claims, which smooths some of that volatility, fell 8,250 to 298,500 — a level that indicates the job market is strong.

The U.S. added the most new jobs last year since 1999. And Federal Reserve officials said Wednesday that the economy was growing at a “solid pace,” an improvement from their assessment last month of “moderate” expansion.

AFP Photo/Justin Sullivan

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Uncovering The Plot Against America

Photo by Aubrey Hicks on Unsplash

Investigations of the terrible crimes committed against the United States at the Capitol last week had scarcely begun when the usual suspects launched a right-wing cover-up. Rather than blame the motley swarm of #MAGA fanatics, white nationalists and habitual criminals whom we all witnessed storming into the citadel of democracy to stop certification of the 2020 election, they pointed the finger to the antifa and Black Lives Matter movements.

But such a preposterous political alibi, premised on nonexistent evidence, won't stand up to the kind of scrutiny that must now be brought to bear on these momentous events. Long after President Donald Trump's impeachment is over and done, and regardless of whether he is convicted or not, the myriad investigations and trials of the perpetrators of the Capitol insurrection will go on for years. Justice will be done; the truth will be revealed; and the breadth of the assault on our constitutional democracy will stun even the jaded and cynical.

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