WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell last week to 547,000, the lowest point since the pandemic struck and an encouraging sign that layoffs are slowing on the strength of an improving job market. The Labor Department said Thursday that applications declined 39,000 from a revised 586,000 a week earlier. Weekly jobless claims are down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January. At the same time, they're still far above the roughly 230,000 level that prevailed before the viral outbreak ripped through the economy in March of last year. “With 135 million Americans having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination and the economy opening up more each day, the number of job opportunities will continue to rise,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING, a European bank.
The ranks of Americans filing for unemployment claims because of the coronavirus pandemic likely swelled again.