Business News: US Unemployment claims down to 553,000 in last week.
Applications for US state unemployment insurance fell to a new pandemic low last week as more Americans get vaccinated and return to work. Initial complaints in regular state programs dropped from 13,000 to 553,000 in the week ending April 24, Department of Labor data showed Thursday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 540,000 statements. The previous week’s total was revised up to 566,000.
New claims this month are well below the millions of claims filed weekly a year ago, but still more than double the roughly 200,000 weekly claims filed in the months leading up to the pandemic.
Fewer laid-off workers come as hiring resumes, with states lifting restrictions on dating in restaurants, baseball stadiums, and tourist spots, and Americans, who are increasingly vaccinated against Covid-19, become more willing to spend time and money outside their homes. Consumer spending is the main driver of the US economy.
The decline in unemployment claims is the latest sign that the labor market is steadily returning to its pre-pandemic strength. With more companies and states reopening in the coming months, hiring is expected to continue to accelerate. Complaint data was volatile during the pandemic amid arrears, fraud and new programs.
Ongoing state grant applications increased for the first time this year, rising to 3.66 million for the week ending April 17. .
In a separate report on Thursday, U.S. gross domestic product growth increased at an annualized rate of 6.4% in the first quarter, following a 4.3% expansion in the preceding three months, according to the Commerce Department. .