A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits pulled back by much more than anticipated in the week ended April 10th, falling to their lowest levels since the early days of the pandemic.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims tumbled to 576,000, a decrease of 193,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 769,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to decline to 700,000 from the 744,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the much bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

“Jobless claims for the prior week were revised higher, and we may still see volatility in the weeks ahead,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics. “However, we expect the trend in claims to be downward as the economic recovery gains momentum.”

She added, “We forecast more than 6 million jobs to be created over the rest of 2021, with payrolls for the year rising by 8 million.”

The report said the less volatile four-week moving average also fell to a more than one-year low of 683,000, a decrease of 47,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 730,250.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, inched up by 4,000 to 3.731 million in the week ended April 3rd.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims still slid to 3,763,000, a decrease of 98,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 3,861,000.

With the decrease, the four-week moving average of continuing claims dropped to its lowest level since hitting 3,611,750 in the week ended March 28, 2020.


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