The number of unemployed in the United States drops for the seventh week in a row to 268,000: NPR

An employment sign appears in Downers Grove, Ill., On June 24, 2021. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a new pandemic low last week.

Nam Y. Huh / AP


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Nam Y. Huh / AP


An employment sign appears in Downers Grove, Ill., On June 24, 2021. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a new pandemic low last week.

Nam Y. Huh / AP

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the seventh week in a row to a pandemic low of 268,000.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell by 1,000 last week compared to the week before, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs, and their steady decline this year – after peaking at 900,000 a week in early January – reflects the strong labor market recovery from last year’s brief but intense corona recession. The four-week average of injuries, which offsets week-to-week volatility, also fell to a pandemic low just below 273,000.

The number of unemployed has dropped towards their pre-pandemic level of around 220,000 per week.

In total, 2.1 million Americans collected traditional unemployment checks in the week ending November 6, a decrease of 129,000 from the week before.

Until September 6, the federal government had supplemented state unemployment insurance programs by paying an additional payment of $ 300 a week and extending benefits to concert workers and to those who were out of work for six months or more. Including the federal programs, the number of Americans receiving some form of unemployment assistance peaked at more than 33 million in June last year.

The corona virus hit the U.S. economy early last year, forcing many businesses to close or reduce opening hours, keeping many Americans locked inside their homes as a precautionary measure. In March and April 2020, employers laid off more than 22 million jobs.

But the economy began to recover last summer. Consumers who put government relief checks in their pockets and gained confidence when COVID-19 cases fell resumed spending. With the rollout of vaccines this year, they began to return to shops, restaurants and bars.

Suddenly, many employers struggled to keep up with an unexpected increase in demand. They are struggling to fill job openings – almost a record 10.4 million in September. Workers who, for the first time in decades, find themselves with bargaining power become picky about jobs; record-high 4.4 million stopped in September, a sign that they have confidence in their ability to find something better.

Since April 2020, employers have employed more than 18 million people, of which 531,000 in October. But the U.S. economy is still short of more than 4 million jobs compared to where it was in February last year.

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