US jobless claims are at their lowest level since the start of the Covid pandemic

US jobless claims are at their lowest level since the start of the Covid pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC: With the US labor market recovering from last year’s downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a new pandemic low of 267,000 last week.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department reported that unemployment claims fell by 4,000 last week, with the four-week average of claims falling by about 7,300 to 278,000, also a new low during the pandemic.

Also, jobless claims have fallen steadily since hitting 900,000 in early January, and are gradually approaching pre-pandemic levels of about 220,000 per week, while claims have now fallen for six consecutive weeks.

During the week ending October 30, about 2.2 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment benefits.

“Overall, the downward trend in filings continues and the level is approaching pre-pandemic levels. Companies facing labor shortages are more likely to keep workers rather than lay them off,” said Rubella Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics.

In March and April 2020, employers cut more than 22 million jobs amid the lockdown, as consumers and workers stayed home.

Employers have since added more than 18 million jobs, including 531,000 last month, as the rollout of vaccines and government relief programs encouraged consumers to resume spending.

Many companies are now struggling to keep up with demand and complain of hoarding of labor, which reached nearly 10.4 million in August.

However, the US economy is still below the level recorded in February 2020 with more than 4 million jobs.

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