First-Time Unemployment Claims Continue Near Historic Lows

The unemployment news in the U.S. continues to be positive.

According to statistics released by the Labor Department Thursday, the number of U.S. workers filing for first-time unemployment assistance last week dropped by 5,000.

Statistics showed some 180,000 workers filed such claims in the week ending April 23, the Labor Department stastistics showed. Those numbers generally reflect the rate of layoffs in the workforce.

The four-week average for claims was up by about 2,000, to 179,750 from 177,500 the previous week.

The total number of Americans collecting jobless benefits for the week ending April 16 dropped by 1,000 from the previous week, to just over 1.4 million, the lowest number since Feb. 21, 1970, the Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, weekly applications for unemployment aid have been consistently below the pre-pandemic level of 225,000 for most of 2022.

The Commerce Department said Thursday the U.S. economy shrank last quarter for the first time since the pandemic recession struck two years ago, contracting at a 1.4% annual rate, even as consumers and businesses kept spending in a sign of underlying resilience, according to AP.

The U.S. economy added some 6.7 million jobs last year, and added an average of 560,000 more each month so far in 2022. The unemployment rate, which climbed to 14.7% in April 2020 in the depths of the COVID-19 recession, is now 3.6%, barely above the lowest point in 50 years.