(Bloomberg) -- Initial applications for US unemployment benefits remained subdued last week, consistent with a healthy job market.

Initial claims held at 212,000 in the week ended April 13, according to Labor Department data released on Thursday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 215,000.

Continuing claims, a proxy for the number of people receiving unemployment benefits, were also little changed at 1.81 million in the week ended April 6.

The job market has remained surprisingly resilient despite elevated interest rates. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled Tuesday that the continued strength in the labor market and lack of progress on inflation could lead policymakers to keep interest rates elevated for longer. 

The four-week moving average for initial claims, which helps smooth short-term fluctuations, has remained at 214,500 for the last three weeks.

What Bloomberg Economics Says...

“Initial jobless claims for the week ended April 13 — which coincides with the survey week for the month’s employment report — suggest a low rate of firing. The labor market continues to cool, particularly in certain parts of the country — suggesting conditions are more diverse and less sanguine than implied by the national tally.”

—Eliza Winger, economist

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The unadjusted data on initial claims, which doesn’t take into account seasonal influences, dropped to 208,509. New Jersey, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania saw the largest declines, while California rose.

In the 20 years that preceded the Covid-19 pandemic, weekly initial applications averaged about 345,000, and continuing ones roughly 2.9 million.

--With assistance from Chris Middleton.

(Adds Bloomberg Economics comment.)

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