By Amara Omeokwe

Worker filings for jobless benefits declined to 547,000 last week, a new pandemic low that adds to evidence of a strengthening labor market and overall economic recovery.

Initial unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell 39,000 last week from an upwardly revised 586,000 the prior week. That put new claims on a seasonally adjusted basis below 600,000 for two consecutive weeks in mid-April, their lowest levels since early 2020. The four-week moving average, which smooths out volatility in the weekly figures, was 651,000, also a pandemic low.

Claims remain higher than the pre-pandemic levels--the weekly average in 2019 was about 218,000--but last week's drop extended a downward trend since the start of this year.

Write to Amara Omeokwe at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 22, 2021 09:03 ET (13:03 GMT)

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