New jobless claims fell to 473,000 for the week ended May 8th, data from the Department of Labor showed Thursday.
Economists had expected claims to fall to 475,000. The previous week was revised up to 507,000 from the preliminary estimate of 498,000.
Jobless claims can be volatile week to week so economists like to look at the four-week average. This fell to 5340,000, the lowest since the pandemic struck last March.
Continuing claims—which get reported with a week’s delay—fell to 3,655,000, a decrease of 45,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 10,000 from 3,690,000 to 3,700,000.
The government launched a number of new programs extending unemployment benefits to jobless Americans who would ordinarily not be eligible, including hte self-employed and gig workers. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending April 24 was 16,855,264, an increase of 696,152 from the previous week. There were 21,863,056 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2020.
Initial claims hit a record 6.87 million for the week of March 27, 2020, more than ten times the previous record. This year has seen immense progress in bringing down the number of new claims, as mass layoffs have been offset by a huge hiring spree.