Sharing an expert from an NPR article.
WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the seventh straight week to a pandemic low of 268,000.
The applications for unemployment aid are a proxy for layoffs, and their steady decline this year — after topping 900,000 one week in early January — reflects the labor market’s strong recovery from last year’s brief but intense coronavirus recession. The four-week average of claims, which smooths week-to-week volatility, also fell to a pandemic low just below 273,000.
Jobless claims have been edging lower, toward their prepandemic level of around 220,000 a week.
The coronavirus slammed the U.S. economy early last year, forcing many businesses to close or reduce hours of operation and keeping many Americans shut in at home as a health precaution. In March and April 2020, employers slashed more than 22 million jobs.
But the economy began to recover last summer. Consumers, pocketing government relief checks and gaining confidence as COVID-19 cases fell, resumed spending. With the rollout of vaccines this year, they began to return to shops, restaurants and bars.
Since April 2020, employers have hired more than 18 million people, including 531,000 in October. But the U.S. economy is still more than 4 million jobs short of where it was in February last year.
READ MORE over at NPR