The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims decreased to 360,000 last week as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a slight increase in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending July 3, when 386,000 new jobless claims were reported. That number was revised up from the 373,000 jobless claims initially reported last week.
Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in around 360,000, The Wall Street Journal reported. (RELATED: Business Groups Slam Biden’s ‘Flawed’ Competition, Antitrust Executive Order)
“The economy is expanding rapidly now, as Covid infections go down and firms are given the OK to expand in-person activity,” Nationwide Mutual Insurance chief economist David Berson told the WSJ. “To meet that demand, firms need to hire workers.”
Thursday’s figure represented the lowest number of jobless claims filed since March 14, 2020, the Labor Department said.
Jobless claims have steadily dropped throughout April, May and June, hitting multiple pandemic lows. Roughly 13.8 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits nationwide, according to the report Thursday.
In addition, the U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June, far exceeding economists’ predictions, according to recent government data. The economy has added more than 3 million jobs since January.
While Americans return to work, the U.S. continues to experience a labor shortage with job vacancies hitting all-time highs. Conservatives have attributed the large amount of openings to continued generous federal unemployment benefits, but liberals have said child care and lingering concerns about coronavirus are causing people to remain unemployed.
“Now that the economy is back on track, we’re making progress on the second phase of our strategy: ensuring long-term growth,” the president said during remarks last week.
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