Weekly Job Claims at 712,000, Lowest Since November

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For the week ending March 6, the weekly number of new unemployment claims decreased to 712,000 according to the Labor Department, lower than what economists expected.

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These are the lowest weekly claims since the week ending Nov. 7, 2020, when they stood at 711,000, according to Labor Department data.

Economists expected 725,000 workers to file for initial unemployment benefits last week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This new figure represents a 42,000 decrease from last week’s revised numbers. This new figure also represents an increase from last week’s revised level. The previous week was revised to  754,000 from 745,000 new claims. 

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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.

These latest numbers seem to announce the start of a recovery, also reflected last week in the Labor Department’s February job numbers, which reported that the U.S. added 379,000 jobs in February, mostly in the leisure and hospitality sectors, beating economists’ expectations.

Economists estimated 210,000 jobs to be added in February and the unemployment rate to hold at 6.3%, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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In addition, both the unemployment rate, at 6.2%, and the number of unemployed persons, at 10 million, changed little in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In January, the U.S. added 49,000 jobs, growing after December’s 140,000-job decline, and the unemployment rate was at 6.3%.

“Although both measures are much lower than their April 2020 highs, they remain well above their pre-pandemic levels in February 2020, 3.5% and 5.7 million, respectively,” the Labor Department said in a statement.

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