Jobless claims fall to their lowest level in a year
The number of Americans applying for jobless aid fell to its lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic erupted a year ago. Some 684,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in the week ending March 20, the Labor Department said Thursday. The number, adjusted for seasonal variation, is a drop of 97,000 from the week before.
Another 241,000 people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for the self-employed and gig workers.
“[W]e expect claims to fall sharply as the economy reopens fully across the second quarter,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics told investors in a note.
Nearly 19 million people continue to collect jobless benefits. Roughly a third of those are in extended federal aid programs, which means they’ve been unemployed for at least six months.