Braking Down The News

U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to Another Pandemic Low

New filings declined to 376,000 last week, as layoffs ease and hiring picks up

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Jobless claims declined to a pandemic low last week, a sign companies are hesitant to lay off employees as the U.S. economy quickly recovers.

Unemployment claims fell to 376,000 last week from 385,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday, bringing claims to the lowest level since the pandemic hit last spring. Claims remain well above weekly filings of just over 200,000 logged before the pandemic shut down large parts of the economy last March. But they have steadily declined in recent weeks as rising vaccination rates and easing business restrictions spur economic activity.

“Employers have lots of jobs; they can’t find people, so they’re holding very tight to the workers they have,” said David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

Employers added 559,000 jobs in May, falling short of many economists’ predictions and reflecting businesses’ difficulties filling open jobs as potential workers remain on the sidelines.

There are numerous signs that demand for workers is picking up as the economy further reopens. Job openings continued to grow in May, according to job-search site Indeed.com. That followed an increase of nearly 1 million unfilled positions in April, to 9.3 million, the highest level on records back to 2000, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

 

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