The number of Americans seeking new unemployment benefits continued to drop last week, the feds said Thursday, as a slew of states move to slash the pandemic-boosted payments.
Initial worker filings for jobless claims, seen as a signal of layoffs, reached 444,000 last week, down from a revised total of 478,000 reported the prior week, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected 452,000 new jobless claims.
New jobless claims have continued on a steady downward trajectory and are now at a fresh pandemic low, but the overall number of people on government assistance remains high, with over 15.9 million claiming continuing assistance, the feds said Thursday.
But laid off workers in many states could soon see those weekly benefits shrink.
At least 21 states with Republican governors are looking to lure workers back into the labor market by withdrawing from the federal program that provides an extra $300 in additional unemployment benefits every week.
Several states are attempting to get people back to work with withdrawing a federal program that provided an extra $300 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.Getty Images
Various Republican-led states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Indiana have moved