WASHINGTON D.C. As the U.S. job market recovers from last year's downturn caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a new pandemic low of 267,000 last week.
The Labor Department reported last week that jobless claims fell by nearly 4,000, with the four-week average of claims dropping by nearly 7,300 to 278,000, a new low during the epidemic.
Demands for unemployment have dropped steadily since reaching 900,000 in early January, and are nearing pre-pandemic levels of some 220,000 weekly, while claims have dropped for six consecutive weeks.
The level is closer to pre-pandemic levels and the downtrend in filings is continuing. Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said businesses facing labor shortages are likely to retain rather than lay off workers.
In March and April 2020, employers eliminated more than 22 million jobs amidst lock downs, as consumers and workers remained in their homes.
More than 18 million jobs, including 531,000 last month, have been added by employers as the government relief programs and vaccines have encouraged consumers to resume spending.
Many businesses are struggling to keep pace with demand and complaining about a storage of labor, which reached a near-record 10.4 million in August.
The US economy is 4 million jobs short of the level seen in February 2020.