Weekly jobless claims hover around four times pre-pandemic level

"Unemployment office" by Bytemarks, CC BY 2.0

WASHINGTON (Fox Business): The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits inched down last week as coronavirus caseloads drop nationwide and many states rolled back restrictions on business activity.

Figures released Thursday by the Labor Department show that 712,000 Americans filed first-time jobless claims in the week ended March 6, lower than the 725,000 forecast by Refinitiv economists.

Weekly jobless claims have remained stubbornly high for months, hovering around four times the typical pre-crisis level, although it’s well below the peak of almost 7 million that was reached when stay-at-home orders were first issued a year ago in March.

There are roughly 10 million fewer jobs than there were last year in February before the crisis began.

Continuing claims, or the number of Americans who are consecutively receiving unemployment aid, fell to 4.14 million, a decline of 193,000 from the previous week. The report shows that roughly 20.1 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits for the week ending Feb. 20, an increase of 2.08 million from the prior week.

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