U.S. unemployment numbers drop to 712,000 as the rate of layoffs eases
Last week, the number of Americans receiving unemployment insurance dropped to 712,000, the lowest overall since early November, showing that fewer businesses are slashing jobs in the midst of a fall in reported coronavirus cases and signs of an improved economy.
The U.S. Labor Department said that the weekly unemployment claims fell by 42,000 to 712,000, down from the upwardly updated total of 754,000 claims in the previous week.
The new labor market figures greatly exceeded economist expectations, as mainstream predictions called for an initial claim to be around 730,000.
A brightening outlook for the economy was strengthened Wednesday, when Congress finally approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill providing $1,400 in grants to most individuals and extending $300 per week in unemployment insurance to early September.