US jobless aid filings drop to new low of 547,000

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell last week to 547,000, a new low since the pandemic struck and a further encouraging sign that layoffs are slowing on the strength of an improving job market, AP reports.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications fell by 39,000 from a revised 586,000 a week earlier. Weekly jobless claims are down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January. At the same time, they’re still far above the roughly 250,000 level that prevailed before the viral outbreak ripped through the economy in March of last year.

About 17.4 million people were continuing to collect unemployment benefits in the week that ended April 3, the latest period for which data is available, up from 16.9 million in the previous week.

The overall job market is making steady gains. Last month, the nation’s employers adding 916,000 jobs, the most since August, in a sign that a sustained recovery is taking hold.

The unemployment rate fell from 6.2 percent to 6 percent, well below the pandemic peak of nearly 15 percent.