WASHINGTON , -- Last week's drop in the number of Americans applying to unemployment benefits is another indicator that the U.S. market is recovering quickly from last year’s coronavirus recession.
The lowest level of unemployment since mid-November 1969 was 71,000 to 199,000. The drop was largely due to seasonal adjustments made around Thanksgiving. The unadjusted claims rose by more than 18,000 to almost 259,000
The average claims for the four weeks, which smooths out the weekly ups and falls, also fell -- by 21,000 to just under 252,000. This is the lowest level since mid-March 2020, when the pandemic hit the economy.
The number of applications has fallen steadily since January when they reached 900,000. Now, however, they are below their preandemic level at around 220,000 per week. Jobless aid claims are an indicator of layoffs.
"Overall, expect volatility in headline figures, but it remains very slowly lower," Contingent Macro Advisors stated in a research note.
The federal government supplemented the state unemployment insurance programs with an additional $300 per week payment and extended benefits to gig workers, those out of work for six or more months, and had been doing so until Sept. 6. In June 2020, more than 33 million Americans received some type of jobless assistance.
Since the spring 2020 coronavirus pandemic, which forced many Americans to stay home due to a lack of work hours or closing businesses, the job market has made a remarkable recovery. Employers cut more than 22,000,000 jobs between March and April of last year.
Government relief checks, extremely low interest rates, and the rollout vaccines all combined gave consumers the financial confidence to spend again. In an effort to meet unexpected demand, 18 million people have been hired by employers since April 2020. Another 575,000 are expected this month. The United States still has 4 million fewer jobs than it had in February 2020.
Now, companies complain that they are unable to find workers to fill open job vacancies. This is a record 10.4 million people in September. Workers are finding themselves with more bargaining power than ever before. A record 4.4 million people quit September to look for better jobs. This is a sign that they believe they can find it.