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The Supreme Court says the Biden administration program to cancel student loans will remain blocked for now, but the justices have agreed to take up the case in late winter. The court’s decision to hear arguments relatively quickly means it is likely to determine whether the widespread loan cancellations are legal by late June. That’s about two months before the newly extended pause on loan repayments is set to expire. The administration had wanted a court order that would have allowed the program to take effect even as court challenges proceed. But as a fallback, it suggested the high court hold arguments and decide the issue.

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Austan Goolsbee, who was a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, has been chosen as the next president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the regional Fed bank announced. Goolsbee, 53, an economics professor at the University of Chicago who is a frequent commentator in opinion columns and television appearances, will succeed Charles Evans on Jan. 9. Evans is retiring after 15 years as head of the Chicago Fed. As head of a regional Fed bank, Goolsbee will have a rotating vote on the committee that determines the central bank’s interest rate moves.

The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate ticked down for the third week in a row and have fallen more than a half-point since hitting a 20-year high less than a month ago. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the benchmark 30-year rate fell to 6.49% from 6.58% last week. A year ago the average rate was 3.11%. Mortgage rates are still more than double what they were in early January, which combined with still-climbing home prices, have created a significant affordability hurdle for many would-be homebuyers. Sales of existing homes have fallen for nine straight months.

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A measure of inflation that is closely monitored by the Federal Reserve eased but remained at an elevated level in October, likely reinforcing the Fed’s intent to keep raising interest rates to cool the economy and slow the acceleration of prices. The report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 6% in October from a year earlier. That was down from 6.3% year-over-year increase in September. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation over the previous 12 months was 5%, less than the 5.2% annual increase in September.

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The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits came back down last week and continue to hover around levels suggesting the U.S. labor market has been largely unaffected by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes. Applications for jobless aid fell to 225,000 for the week ending Nov. 26, a decline of 16,000 from the previous week’s 241,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out week-to-week swings, inched up by 1,750 to 227,000. The Labor Department said Thursday that 1.61 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Nov. 19, up 57,000 from the week before.