Weekly unemployment claims below 400,000 for the first time since the early days of the pandemic
Initial jobless claims fell below 400,000 for the first time since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic as the labor market continues to recover, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
Initial requests fell to 385,000 for the week ended May 29, down from 405,000 the week before and below the Dow Jones estimate of 393,000.
The last time claims declined was the week of March 14, 2020, with 256,000. The number reached nearly 3 million the following week and peaked at over 6.1 million in early April, as US governments were shutting down businesses in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As vaccinations spread and businesses were allowed to reopen, the job market situation improved dramatically. An ADP report earlier Thursday morning showed private payroll growth jumped 978,000 in May.
Despite the decline in weekly claims, continuing claims increased from 169,000 to 3.77 million. This data is one week behind the claims figures.
The claims data comes a day ahead of the Ministry of Labor’s closely watched non-farm wage report. The estimate is 671,000 new jobs after the disappointing 266,000 in April when expectations were at 1 million.
Although employment data continues to improve, significant gaps remain in the labor market, especially among those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
There are still more than 15.4 million Americans who receive benefits under the various programs, including two set up specifically to deal with travel related to the pandemic. This total, which is two weeks behind, is about half of what it was a year ago.
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