U.S. Jobless Claims Fell Last Week to Fresh Pandemic-Era Low
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Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance fell last week to a fresh pandemic low as more Americans get vaccinated and return to work.
Initial claims in regular state programs decreased by 13,000 to 553,000 in the week ended April 24, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 540,000 claims. The prior week’s total was revised up to 566,000.
Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia led states with the biggest declines in initial claims last week, while Virginia saw an increase of more than 29,000 claims.
The drop in unemployment benefits applications is the latest sign the job market is steadily returning to its pre-pandemic strength. As more businesses and states reopen in the coming months, hiring is expected to continue to accelerate. Claims data have been volatile during the pandemic amid backlogs, fraud and new programs.
Continuing claims for ongoing state benefits rose for the first time this year, climbing to 3.66 million for week ended April 17. Applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed and gig workers totaled 121,749 last week, the lowest since the program was introduced last year.
In a separate report Thursday, U.S. gross domestic product growth quickened to a 6.4% annualized rate in the first quarter, following a 4.3% expansion in the prior three months, according to the Commerce Department.
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