Jobless claims come down over expected for a new pandemic low

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May 21, 2021: -The procession of Americans heading to the unemployment line was, even more, decreasing in the last week, with jobless claims totaling a fresh pandemic-era with 444,000, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected 452,000 new claims as the jobs picture keeps improving, thanks to an accelerated economic reopening in the country.

The total represented a decline from the last week’s 478,000. For the same period a year ago, claims totaled over 2.3 million.

While Federal Reserve officials continue to stress the need for more improvement in the jobs picture, the claims numbers suggest that employment is consistently growing.

However, continuing claims edged higher, increasing to 3.75 million, an increase of 111,000. Continuing claims run a week behind the headline number.

Still, the overall numbers help provide some optimism after April’s stunning disappointment in which nonfarm payrolls grew by just 266,000 against estimates for 1 million.

A continued strong pace of Covid-19 vaccines has spurred the economic rebound, with the U.S. still administering 1.8 million shots a day.

Along with the continued slide in the headline number, the total of those receiving benefits tumbled by nearly 900,000 to just shy of 16 million, according to data through May 1.

Most of the decline came from a decrease in those getting benefits through pandemic-related emergency programs. Enhanced benefits that Congress has authorized related to the pandemic expire in September.

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