US unemployment claims fall to a pandemic low of 498,000 | KSTP.com

US unemployment claims fall to a pandemic low of 498,000

A sign announcing they are hiring hangs in the window of a restaurant in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Some restaurants in New York City are starting to hire employees now that they can increase their indoor dining to 75% of capacity starting May 7. Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer. A sign announcing they are hiring hangs in the window of a restaurant in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan in New York, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Some restaurants in New York City are starting to hire employees now that they can increase their indoor dining to 75% of capacity starting May 7.

The Associated Press
Created: May 06, 2021 07:44 AM

The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to 498,000, the lowest point since the viral pandemic struck 14 months ago and a sign of the job market's growing strength as businesses reopen and consumers step up spending.

Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 92,000 from a revised 590,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has declined significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January as employers have ramped up hiring.

At the same time, the pace of applications is still well above the roughly 230,000 level that prevailed before the viral outbreak tore through the economy in March of last year.

As vaccinations have been more widely administered, restrictions on businesses have gradually lifted and consumers have become more willing to travel, shop and dine out, stronger spending has boosted hiring, slowed layoffs and accelerated growth. The economy grew last quarter at a vigorous 6.4% annual rate, with expectations that the current quarter will be even better.


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