WASHINGTON – Claims for jobless benefits dropped sharply in the U.S. last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, as the world’s biggest economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 364,000 unemployed workers sought government compensation, down 51,000 from the revised figure of the week before, the agency said. It was the lowest total since mid-March 2020, when the figure was 256,000.
The weekly claims total has tracked unevenly in recent weeks, topping more than 400,000 for two straight weeks until last week’s lower figure. But overall, jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs of workers, have fallen by more than 40% since early April, while remaining well above pre-pandemic levels.
State governors and municipal officials across the U.S. have been ending coronavirus restrictions, in many cases allowing businesses for the first time in a year to completely reopen to customers….