The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits fell by 14,000 last week to 385,000, fresh evidence that the economy is quickly recovering from the recession caused by the pandemic.
The Labor Department reported Thursday that orders — an indicator of layoffs — fell last week from 399,000 the previous week. Demands have been dropping consistently since hitting 900,000 in early January. However, it is still high: before the epidemic broke out in the United States in March 2020, their number was about 220,000 per week.
The US economy recovered as vaccines encouraged businesses to reopen or return to normal business hours and consumers to return to stores, restaurants and bars. The United States has added more than 540,000 jobs per month this year, and the State Department’s jobs report on Friday is expected to show that the economy added nearly 863,000 jobs last month, according to a survey by FactSet economists.
The US economy still has 6.8 million fewer jobs than it did in February 2020.
Companies are opening positions – a record 9.2 million in May – faster than applicants apply to fill them. Several states have responded to business complaints about labor shortages by ending expanded federal unemployment assistance implemented as pandemic relief, including additional payments of $300 per week. The state’s nationwide benefits will end on September 6.
In all, about 13 million people received some form of unemployment assistance in the week of July 17, compared to 13.2 million the previous week and 32 million a year earlier.
The health crisis is not over yet. COVID-19 cases continue to rise with the spread of the most contagious delta variant, mostly among the unvaccinated. The US is reporting an average of 70,000 new cases per day, down from less than 12,000 per day at the end of June.
“Future teen idol. Hardcore twitter trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble travel evangelist.”