DORAL, FL – U.S. unemployment applications reached the lowest level in 52 years last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.
According to the report, unemployment claims dropped by 43,000 to 184,000, which is considered the lowest since September 1969. In addition, the four-week moving average fell below 219,000, the lowest since the pandemic arrived in the country in March 2020.
Weekly claims also improved as they have fallen on a consistent basis most of the year since topping 900,000 one week in January. As of now, they are below to the 220,000-a-week level considered to be the normal trend before the coronavirus.
And the unemployment rate has been dropping as well despite the fact the Labor Department reported last week that employers added a “disappointing” 210,000 jobs last month. Even so, the unemployment rate dropped to a pandemic low of 4.2% from 4.6% in October.
In simple numbers, only under 2 million Americans were claiming traditional unemployment benefits the week that concluded on November 27.
In an interview with AP, Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities, stated this positive trend is connected with seasonal volatility as the Labor Department adjusted the numbers to reflect job market fluctuations around the holidays. Before seasonal adjustments, claims actually rose by nearly 64,000 to almost 281,000.
“The unfilled demand for workers is much larger than it was then and layoffs appear to be noticeably lower,? said Stanley to the media agency.
But not only seasonal volatility has contributed to the current scenario. The job market has also improved thanks to government aid and the rollout of vaccines. Until September 6, the federal government had supplemented state unemployment insurance programs by paying an extra payment of $300 a week and extending benefits to gig workers and to those who were out of work for six months or more.
Nevertheless, there are still many challenges ahead because the economy is still 3.9 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020 and the prospects for the economy remain at risk to COVID variants such as omicron.
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