Unemployment Claims Hit Another Low Point
In a continued sign of healing for the U.S. economy, weekly unemployment claims fell to another new low since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Roughly 498,000 unemployment claims were filed in the week-ending May 1 (the most recent reporting period), according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That rate is 92,000 claims below last week’s revised level, and a shade behind the 538,000 unemployment claims economists expected. The four-week average for jobless claims has held below 600,000 for a fourth straight week. This week’s claims mark more positive news for the labor market as states reopen, vaccines become more available and businesses ramp up hiring. While continuing the downward trend, however, unemployment claims are still more than twice as high as they were in February 2020, before the pandemic downturn began. Unemployment filings had been running at an average of roughly 200,000 claims before the viral outbreak early last year.