US jobless claims hit lowest since November with more vaccines

Published Thu, Mar 11, 2021 · 11:01 PM

[NEW YORK] Applications for US jobless benefits fell by more than forecast last week to the lowest since early November as Covid-19 vaccinations accelerated and states eased more business restrictions.

Initial claims in regular state programmes rose fell by 42,000 to 712,000 in the week ended March 6, Labor Department data showed Thursday. On an unadjusted basis, the claims decreased by 47,170 to 709,458. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey had called for 725,000 initial claims.

Continuing claims - an approximation of the number of Americans filing for ongoing unemployment benefits - declined by 193,000 to 4.14 million in the week ended Feb 27. At the same time, claims in federal programmes ballooned as of Feb 20, including a more than one million surge in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a programme for self-employed and gig workers.

The initial claims figures suggest that more vaccines and fewer business restrictions are helping to slow the rate of job cuts. States including Texas, Mississippi and Wyoming have recently announced plans to relax pandemic-related rules, like capacity limits for dining and gatherings, which may boost hiring in the coming weeks.

States with the largest decline in initial claims last week included New York, Texas and Mississippi. Meanwhile, California posted the largest increase.

As of Feb 20, the total number of claims in all unemployment programmes was 20.1 million, according to the Labor Department. President Joe Biden's US$1.9 trillion package - which he plans to sign into law on Friday - extends some unemployment benefits, including the supplemental weekly jobless benefit of US$300, until September.

GET BT IN YOUR INBOX DAILY

Start and end each day with the latest news stories and analyses delivered straight to your inbox.

VIEW ALL

BLOOMBERG

KEYWORDS IN THIS ARTICLE

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to  t.me/BizTimes

International

SUPPORT SOUTH-EAST ASIA'S LEADING FINANCIAL DAILY

Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Browse corporate subscription here