US sees lowest number of jobless claims since start of pandemic

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Visitors to the Department of Labor are turned away at the door by personnel due to closures over coronavirus concerns, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in New York. Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Another 963,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

This was the lowest number of weekly initial claims since the pandemic shut down the US economy. It is the first time in five months that fewer than 1 million have filed for first-time jobless benefits.

Economists say it’s encouraging that claims for unemployment are going down because it means people keep returning to work. That said, the persistently high claims numbers also tell us this recovery won’t be an easy or quick feat.

Continued jobless claims, which count people who have filed for unemployment benefits for a at least two weeks in a row, stood at 15.5 million.

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