US jobless claims near pandemic low as economy strengthens

Hiring
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell for a third straight time last week, the latest sign that employers are laying off fewer people as they struggle to fill a record number of open jobs and meet a surge in consumer demand.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell to 375,000 from 387,000 the previous week. The number of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January as the economy has increasingly reopened in the aftermath of the pandemic recession.

Filings for unemployment benefits have traditionally been seen as a real-time gauge of the job market’s health, but the measure’s reliability has deteriorated during the pandemic. In many states, the weekly figures have been inflated by fraud and by multiple filings from unemployed Americans as they navigate bureaucratic hurdles to try to obtain benefits.

Categories: Associated Press, Business