The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits edged up last week, but claims remains near a 50-year low amid a tight labor market that is spurring businesses to hold onto their workers. About 207,000 people filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended January 1, the Labor Department said Thursday. That represents a slight increase from the prior week, when about 198,000 people filed for jobless aid, matching a low last seen in October 1969. Businesses have sharply curtailed layoffs in the past year following the massive job cuts experienced in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic sparked an economic shutdown and forced many businesses to close their doors. In 2021, employers announced plans to cut about 320,000 jobs, a decrease of 86% from the 2.3 million jobs that were eliminated in 2020, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The strengthening labor market is prompti . . . read the full article here.