The number of Americans seeking new unemployment benefits continued to drop last week to a new low during the pandemic, the feds said Thursday.
Initial worker filings for jobless claims, seen as a signal of layoffs, reached 406,000 last week, down from a 444,000 reported the prior week, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected 425,000 new jobless claims.
Despite falling new jobless claims, almost 16 million Americans were still on some form of government assistance through all unemployment programs as of early May.
Still, the downward trend of new claims is an indication of a labor market that appears to be healing, albeit slower than expected.
Companies have reported struggling to recruit new workers in recent weeks, with many citing pandemic-boosted federal unemployment benefits as a cause. Other reasons for the labor crunch include fear of getting COVID-19 and school closures keeping parents at home, economists say.
Some economists have warned that the labor shortage could hold back the US economic recovery.
a “Now Hiring” sign hangs on the front wall of a Harbor Freight Tools store in Manchester, N.H.Charles Krupa/AP
At least 23 states with Republican governors are now looking