US weekly jobless claims slide to new pandemic-era low of 376,000

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US jobless claims fell to 376,000 last week, slightly above the median economist estimate.
The reading marked a sixth straight decline and set a new pandemic-era low.
Continuing claims sank to 3.5 million for the week that ended May 29, landing below estimates.
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Filings for unemployment insurance fell for a sixth consecutive week as the US economic recovery led fewer businesses to cut staff.
Weekly jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 376,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg held a median estimate of 370,000 claims. The reading places claims at a new pandemic-era low.
The previous week’s total was unrevised from 385,000.
Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment benefits, dipped to 3.5 million for the week that ended May 29. That compares to the median estimate of 3.65 million continuing claims.
Jobless claims are finally showing signs of recovery after hovering at elevated levels for roughly half a year. Though the weekly readings can be somewhat choppy, the steady decline over the past few months suggests businesses are retaining workers as demand bounces back and labor shortages curb hiring efforts.
Still, the trend has been less encouraging for continuing claims. Their elevated levels imply that jobless Americans are staying unemployed while the economy reopens. Weekly claims counts are also roughly twice their pre-pandemic norm, emphasizing the recovery is far from complete.
The claims data is the first to come after the government published its May payrolls report, when the US added 559,000 jobs, missing economist estimates but still showing a sharp upswing from April’s dismal growth. The unemployment rate fell more than expected to 5.8% from 6.1%, and wages soared for a second straight month as businesses rushed to rehire.
In other labor-market news, Tuesday JOLTS data showed job openings hit a record high in April as the gap between worker supply and demand widened further. Roughly 9.3 million openings existed by the end of April, up from 8.3 million the month prior. Quits also hit a record high of 4 million, suggesting that even working Americans were looking to change the way they worked.
The unusual dynamic is perhaps most evident in the leisure and hospitality sector. Wages at such businesses ballooned 7.2% from January to May, roughly doubling the typical annual gain for worker pay. Yet the rally only placed the sector’s average hourly earnings at $15.68, or half of the nationwide average. The low pay might explain why leisure and hospitality job openings rose by 400,000 in April while the sector’s quit rate also jumped.
Read the original article on Business Insider

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/weekly-jobless-claims-pandemic-low-labor-market-shortage-hiring-unemployment-2021-6

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