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(NewsNation) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week ticked down amid recession fears.

The latest report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed jobless claims decreased by 2,000 to 250,000. The four-week average of claims, which levels out week-to-week volatility, decreased by 2.750 to 246,760.

This comes as America’s employers added 528,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate edged lower to 3.5%, lower than the past four jobs reports and the lowest level since the pandemic erupted two years ago.

Inflation continues to pose a severe hardship for many families. Though gasoline prices have fallen from their heights, food, rent, used cars and other necessities have become far more expensive, beyond whatever wage increases most workers have notched.

Despite a still-robust job market, the U.S. economy shrank in the first half of 2022, raising fears of a potential recession. Growth has been weakening largely as a consequence of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes, which are intended to cool the economy and tame high inflation.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.