Initial unemployment claims for the week ending April 17 dropped by 39,000 to 547,000, the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when it was 256,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Thursday (April 22). The previous week’s level was revised up by 10,000 from 576,000 to 586,000.
Continued weekly claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for the week ending April 3 were 7,309,604. Continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs was 17,405,094, for the week ending April 3, an increase of 491,674 from the previous week. Additionally, there were 12,492,421 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2020, according to the report.
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had been expecting initial claims to go up from last week’s pandemic low of 576,000, which was lower than the Great Recession peak of 665,000 filed in March 2009, according to Yahoo Finance. Claims hit a record high of 6.1 million in the spring of 2020.
“The issue for the labor market, in our view, is at least partly related to ongoing health risks,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, said in a note, per Yahoo Finance. “Even as states are lifting restrictions and the pace of vaccinations is picking up, workers are still likely hesitant to return to work, especially in contact-intensive industries,” she noted.
“Overall, the labor market will see a significant rebound going forward,” she added. “However, there are a lot of moving parts that will play a role in how sustainable and complete the recovery will be.”
BNY Mellon CEO Todd Gibbons said earlier this month that he’s confident in the overall economic recovery despite the country’s oldest bank experiencing a dip in first-quarter revenue.
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