Initial jobless claims have finally fallen below their pre-pandemic record.
Well, that only took 13 months:
Unemployment claims declined to the lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic struck last spring, adding to signs the U.S. economic revival is picking up speed.
Jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell to 576,000 last week from 769,000 a week earlier. That is the lowest weekly figure since March 2020. Claims remain higher than the pre-pandemic levels of around 220,000, but economists expect they will continue to drop as the recovery accelerates.
“We are seeing both a strong reopening and rehiring in the economy at this time,” said Kathy Bostjancic, economist at Oxford Economics. “It’s been faster than most economists expected.”
Several factors are converging to boost growth across the economy. Vaccination rates are powering consumer spending, governments are relaxing restrictions on businesses, and federal-stimulus funds are flowing through the economy.
The total number of people receiving unemployment assistance is declining as the labor market heals. About 16.9 million people were collecting unemployment benefits through state and federal programs in the week ended March 27, down from 18.2 million a week earlier.
More on the Economy
The labor market still has a long way to go before achieving a full recovery. As of March, U.S. payrolls remained 8.4 million below their level in February 2020.
It's unalloyed good news though the current situation remains pretty dire.