April 15, 2021 at 02:41PM

Initial unemployment claims plummeted to a new pandemic low of 576,000, a decrease of 193,000 from last week’s revised level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Thursday (April 15).

Last week’s level was revised up by 25,000 from 744,000 to 769,000. The numbers are at the lowest level since March 14, 2020 when claims were at 256,000 and considerably down from the March 2009 recession peak of 665,000. 

Applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for freelancers and gig workers totaled about 132,000 last week. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending March 27 was 16,934,061, down 1,235,856 from the previous week. There were 8,196,826 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2020. 

California led the way with initial jobless claims dropping over 75,000. Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky also declined by about 50 percent from the prior week.

“Massive job gains will put downward pressures on layoffs,” Bloomberg economist Eliza Winger said, per the New York Post. “Still, the return to pre-pandemic levels will take some time.”

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said last week that the economy will likely rebound as COVID-19 cases continue falling and vaccinations become more widely distributed nationwide and around the world.

“We feel like we’re at a place where the economy’s about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly,” Powell said, per the Associated Press. “This growth that we’re expecting in the second half of this year is going to be very strong. And job creation, I would expect to be very strong.”

In December 2020, initial jobless claims were starting to drop after being over 1 million over the summer last year.

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