US unemployment claims fall in fourth week

US unemployment claims fall in fourth week

WASHINGTON: Initial unemployment claims in the US fell to 406,000 for the fourth straight week after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the labor market early last year, the Labor Department reported.
In the week ending May 22, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell 38,000 from the previous week’s unchanged level of 444,000, according to a report released Thursday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This is the lowest level of initial claims since March 14, 2020, when it stood at 256,000, Xinhua news agency quoted the report as saying.
The four-week moving average, a way to offset data volatility, dropped from 46,000 to 458,750.
The latest report also showed that the number of people receiving regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending May 15 declined from 96,000 to 3.64 million, after an increase of 98,000 in the previous week.
Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits for all programs, state and federal combined, fell from 175,255 to 15.8 million for the week ending May 8, as the country grapples with the fallout of the pandemic.
More than 20 states have announced they will pull out of federal unemployment programs in early June, months before they expire in September.
Federal aid includes an additional $300 weekly unemployment benefits on top of state benefits.
The governors of these states as well as the Chamber of Commerce have argued that such supplemental benefits from the federal government prevent people from returning to work, leading to a labor shortage.

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