New Unemployment Claims Drop Under 500K for First Time During Pandemic

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer May 6, 2021
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​States reported that 498,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending May 1, a decrease of 92,000 from the previous week's revised level and the lowest level of initial claims since March 2020. The total number of workers continuing to claim state unemployment benefits held at 3.6 million.

The labor market continues to heal 14 months after the COVID-19 pandemic first began to ravage the U.S. economy. Economists forecast that more than one million jobs were added in April, and that the unemployment rate for the month ticked down to 5.8 percent from 6 percent in March. The official data will be published in the Department of Labor's employment report tomorrow morning.

About 16 million people overall are receiving some type of unemployment aid. That includes about 12 million people enrolled in emergency programs such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig workers and the self-employed and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which offers an additional 24 weeks of benefits.

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