US govt: New jobless claims plunged 92,000 last week

People line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Kentucky, US, June 18, 2020. — Reuters pic
People line up outside a Kentucky Career Center hoping to find assistance with their unemployment claim in Frankfort, Kentucky, US, June 18, 2020. — Reuters pic

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WASHINGTON, May 7 — Americans filed 92,000 fewer applications for unemployment aid last week, the government reported Thursday, in the latest sign the widespread job losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was ebbing as businesses reopen.

The Labour Department data showed there were 498,000 initial claims for jobless benefits made in the week ended May 1, seasonally adjusted, far fewer than expected and a new low since the pandemic began in March 2020 and caused a massive spike in layoffs and the need for aid.

The report is the latest evidence the US labour force is recovering, aided by Covid-19 vaccines that have allowed businesses to return to normal, as well as government stimulus spending.

“The level remains high, but filings are moving in the right direction, indicative of improving labour market conditions,” Rubeela Farooqi of High Frequency Economics said.

Claims have been on a downward slope over the last month, however Labour Department said the report for April 24 was revised upwards to show filings actually increased that week by 24,000.

And in the latest week, there were 101,214 new applications, not seasonally adjusted, filed under a special program to help freelance workers who are not eligible for regular jobless benefits, the report said.

All told, nearly 16.2 million people were claiming some form of unemployment benefits as of the week ended April 17, the Labour Department said, a reminder that much remains to be done to restore the record-low unemployment seen before the pandemic. — AFP

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