Weekly Jobless Claims Go Down for 4th Week in a Row as Economy Reopens

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The weekly number of unemployment claims still continue to go down for the fourth week in a row, an encouraging sign reflecting the reopening of the economy and exceeding analysts’ expectations.

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For the week ending April 29, the weekly number of unemployment claims fell to 553,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the Labor Department. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 19,000 from 547,000 to 566,000.

Economists expected workers to file for 528,000 initial unemployment claims last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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To put these figures in context, pre-pandemic, first-time unemployment benefit filers had typically numbered only about 225,000 weekly. For example, for the week ending Feb. 29, 2020, the figure stood at 217,000 claims, according to Labor Department data. However, for the week ending April 25, 2020 claims stood at an eye-popping 3,451,000.

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Jobless claims are “going in the right direction and at the right pace,” Nela Richardson, chief economist at human-resources software firm Automatic Data Processing Inc said to The Wall Street Journal. “That means we’re no longer adding to the hole, which is a good sign for the recovery.”

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Find: What the Unemployment Rate Means for You and the Economy

The reopening of the economy, boosted by the vaccine acceleration, an easing of restrictions and the stimulus checks, is also reflected in other recent economic factors. Earlier this month, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales surged a whopping 9.8% in March. In addition, the U.S. added 916,000 jobs in March, boosted by the leisure and hospitality sector, representing the strongest month since last summer and beating economists’ expectations. This economic recovery is also reflected in the decrease in the unemployment rate from 6.2% in February to 6% in March, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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