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US jobless claims hit pandemic low again as economy reopens

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More Americans are finding employment after mass layoffs hit the labor force as the Covid-19 pandemic began./AFP
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Jun 11, 2021 - 07:32 AM

WASHINGTON — The reopening US economy pushed weekly filings for jobless benefits to a new pandemic low for the sixth consecutive week, the Labor Department said Thursday, though at a slower rate than expected.

A seasonally adjusted 376,000 new claims were filed in the week ended June 5, the data showed, more than analysts had forecast but 9,000 fewer than the previous week’s unrevised total.

Another 71,292 new claims, not seasonally adjusted, were made under a special program helping freelance workers and others not normally eligible for aid, about 2,000 less than the week prior, the report said.

The data offers further evidence that workers who lost their jobs due to the business restrictions caused by Covid-19 are employed again, aided by vaccinations campaigns that have made daily life safer.

“As fewer people are laid off, we need those on sidelines to rejoin labor force,” investment manager Steven Rattner said on Twitter, calling the report “good news.”

After spiking into the millions as the pandemic began in March 2020, claims have been on a sustained downward trend in recent months.

But in an indicator of the healing to be done, the report showed more than 15.3 million receiving unemployment aid as of the week ended May 22, though that was about 95,000 less than the week prior.

The insured unemployment rate indicating the share of workers whose regular claims have been approved dropped to 2.5 percent as of the week ended May 29, 0.2 point lower than the week prior.

The data showed 3.5 million people were receiving regular benefits that week, 258,000 less than the previous week’s downwardly revised level, and its lowest reading since the week of March 21, 2020.

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