May 14, 2021 (UPI) — Some 473,000 Americans filed for unemployment last week, the lowest weekly figure since the beginning of the pandemic, the Labor Department said Thursday.
The weekly report said unemployment claims dropped by 34,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 507,000. The decline comes as more and more of the U.S. economy reopens and consumers spend more.
The four-week moving average of claims was 534,000, a drop of 28,250 from the previous week.
The last time unemployment claims were this low was the week ending March 14, 2020, when it was 256,000, just before COVID-19-related shutdowns crippled the U.S. economy. It marks a sharp drop from the peak of about 900,000 unemployment claims in January.
Some businesses have complained about finding enough workers to hire for open positions in recent weeks. The Labor Department revealed earlier this week that the number of open jobs in the United States rose to an all-time high of 8.1 million at the end of March.
The report said there was an increase of 597,000 open jobs in March, with a job openings rate increase to 5.3%.
Of those openings, 185,000 were in accommodations and food services, 155,000 in state and local government education and 81,000 in arts, entertainment and recreation. Open jobs decreased by 218,000 in healthcare and social assistance.
The Labor Department said the insured unemployment rate was 2.6% for the week ending May 1, a drop of 0.1% from the previous week.