First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended May 8th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 473,000, a decrease of 34,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 507,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 490,000 from the 498,000 originally reported for the previous week.
With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims once again fell to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also slid to a more than one-year low of 534,000, a decrease of 28,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 562,250.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also dropped by 45,000 to 3.655 million in the week ended May 1st.
The four-week moving average fell to 3,665,000, a decrease of 13,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 3,678,250.
Last Friday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing employment in the U.S. increased by far less than expected in the month of April.
The report said non-farm payroll employment rose by 266,000 jobs in April after surging by a downwardly revised 770,000 jobs in March.
Economists had expected employment to spike by 978,000 jobs compared to the jump of 916,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
The Labor Department said notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, other services, and local government education were partly offset by employment declines in temporary help services and couriers and messengers.
The report also showed the unemployment rate inched up to 6.1 percent in April from 6.0 percent in March. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to drop to 5.8 percent.
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