US Unemployment Claims Reach a Pandemic Low as Hiring Soars

A team of people rescue another from a deep plunge

The number of Americans seeking jobless benefits dropped last week to 340,000, a pandemic low, a sign the job market is rebounding from the Covid-19-driven collapse.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor


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US weekly jobless claims declined by 14,000 on Thursday. The weekly count has mostly dropped steadily since a record high of 900,000 in early January.

Vaccinations for COVID-19 have been supporting the job market by encouraging the reopening of US businesses and consumers to return to restaurants, bars, and shops.

But, a resurgence of cases linked to the highly contagious delta variant has dimmed the economic outlook. COVID-19 cases are not topping 135,000 a day, up from less than 12,000 in early July.

The rate of weekly applications for unemployment assistance remains high by historical standards. Before COVID-19 struck the United States in March 2020, the number hovered around 220,000 per week.

The economy has since recovered 16.7 million jobs. Posted job openings have been increasing faster than applicants have lined up to fill them.

Over 2.7 million people were receiving jobless benefits in the week of August 21, down from 2.9 million the previous week and the lowest figure since the pandemic struck.


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