Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs remain at historically low levels, according to the latest Department of Labor report. Jobless claims fell by 5,000 to 166,000 for the week ending April 2, the lowest weekly figure since 1968.
This week’s result is well below the Dow Jones estimate of 200,000.
The four-week average of first-time claims is now 170,000, after a series of adjustments by the Labor Department. At the start of the pandemic DOL adapted its methodology to the changing labor market, however, now that claims are back at pre pandemic levels, the old methodology is back. This is why there were so many changes in the most recent report.
The Department of Labor declared that the worst effects of the pandemic have passed.
The unemployment data reflects the tight US labor market. Two years after the economy was shut down at the start of the pandemic with millions of lost jobs, the nation’s employment situation is now characterized by a shortage of workers.
Today there almost 5 million more jobs open than available workers, a situation that is driving up salaries and adding more pressure to the inflation.