US jobless claims tumble to 576,000, lowest since pandemic
AP – US jobless claims tumbled last week with 576,000 Americans applying for unemployment.
The Labor Department said Thursday that applications plummeted by 193,000 from a revised 769,000 a week earlier. Jobless claims are now down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January.
Jobless benefit collection went down to 16.9 million for the week ending in March 27, compared to 18.2 million the in the previous week. Those figures make clear that even as the economy has strengthened in recent weeks, millions are facing a loss of a job or income and have been struggling to pay bills or rent, Associated Press reported.
The decrease in claims correlates with employers adding 916,000 jobs in Marc, which was the most added since August. Experts said its a sign on recovery as more people get vaccinated and pandemic business restrictions are lifted in many states. More Americans are also willing to eat out, travel and do other activities that stimulate the economy.
The nation’s unemployment rate has declined steadily, from a high of 14.8% a year ago to 6%. The last time the jobless rate was this low, weekly claims were around 350,000, still well below their current level.
Economists are pointing to several explanations for the discrepancy. Many states are struggling to clear backlogs of applications and people are receiving a little more money from President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package.
Economists are also concerned about a potential burst in inflation stemming from the unleashing of pent-up consumer demand.
Consumer prices rose 0.6% in March, the most since 2012, the government reported Tuesday, and are up 2.6% in the past year. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, though, prices rose by a more benign 1.6% year over year.
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