Unemployment insurance claimants in the United States have fallen to 684,000 the lowest level since the pandemic
The number of people receiving unemployment compensation dropped dramatically last week to 684,000, the lowest since the COVID-19 pandemic exploded a year ago and an indication that the economy is strengthening.
Economists’ consensus called for initial claims to come in at 730,000 following the revised level of 781,000 reported in the previous week.
Economists are growing more optimistic that the pace of layoffs, which has been chronically high for a full year, is finally easing.
“While the level of claims remains elevated,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at Oxford Economics, “we expect they will continue to recede as the recovery gains momentum.”
Specific states posted dramatic declines in assistance applications last week. In Illinois, they fell by 80% to just under 15,000 people. In Ohio, which had flagged a considerable number of claims as false a few weeks earlier, they dropped by nearly a third to 69,000.
Some observers are becoming more hopeful that recruiting would pick up speed this year. According to two senior fellows at the Brookings Institution, employers will add 700,000 to 1 million positions per month on average over the next ten months.