The number of Americans filing new unemployment claims dropped to 406,000 last week as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Department of Labor.
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics figure released Thursday represented a decrease in the number of new jobless claims compared to the week ending May 15, when 444,000 new jobless claims were reported. Economists expected Thursday’s jobless claims number to come in at 425,000, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I think there’s still a lot of pain out there, but the good news is that it really looks like the economy is kicking into overdrive, and I do see positive signs for the job market,” Beth Ann Bovino, S&P Global Ratings chief U.S. economist, told the WSJ.
Thursday’s figure represented the lowest level for initial jobless claims since March 14, 2020, when the Labor Department reported 256,000 new claims, according to the report.
Roughly 15.8 million Americans continue to collect unemployment benefits, according to the report. (RELATED: Business Groups Organize To Fight Tax Increases From Biden, Democrats)
Republicans have argued that the federal $300 weekly unemployment bonus implemented by Democrats’ $1.9 trillion stimulus package has incentivized out-of-work Americans not to look for jobs. Job vacancies hit a record 8.1 million at the end of March, according to a Labor Department report released earlier in May.
More than 20 Republican-majority states including Texas, South Carolina, Arizona and Alabama have announced their withdrawal from the federal unemployment program, Business Insider reported. Connecticut and New Hampshire announced programs to pay unemployed people a bonus if they find work.
“We reinstituted the job search requirement and now discontinued the added federal money, and the reason is simple: we’ve got almost a half a million job openings in the state of Florida,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Meanwhile, the consumer price index, an indicator of inflation, has shown worrying signs. Prices increased more between May 2020 and April than any other 12-month period since 2008, government data showed.
A group of top economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics expect inflation to “accelerate strongly” in the coming months.
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