US unemployment claims drop to another pandemic low

Labour market picking up as coronavirus restrictions are lifted

New filings for weekly unemployment benefits have hit a new pandemic low in the US. AFP
New filings for weekly unemployment benefits have hit a new pandemic low in the US. AFP

Applications for US state unemployment insurance have fallen for a fourth consecutive week as more Americans become vaccinated and businesses reopen to eager customers.

Initial claims in regular state programmes decreased by 38,000 to 406,000 in the week ended May 22, Labour Department data showed on Thursday.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 425,000 applications.

The decrease in claims underscores the labour market recovery is chugging along as remaining pandemic restrictions are eased.

Hiring is expected to continue to pick up in the coming months as more Americans travel and socialise.

Claims data have been volatile during the pandemic due to backlogs, fraud and new programmes. Also, multiple states have recently announced plans to pull out of federal unemployment benefit programmes amid a debate about whether the aid is making it more difficult for employers to hire workers.

Stocks climbed after the jobless claims report as well as separate data showing orders for US business equipment rose more than had been predicted.

Orders placed with factories for business equipment rose in April by the most in eight months, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Treasury yields rose, while the dollar was little changed.

Washington, New Jersey and Florida led among states with the biggest declines last week, Thursday’s data show.

Continuing claims for ongoing state benefits declined in the week ended May 15.

Published: May 27, 2021 07:45 PM

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