The number of Americans seeking unemployment assistance dropped last week to 498,000, the lowest point since the coronavirus pandemic began early last year, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released Thursday.
Applications fell 92,000 from a revised 590,000 a week earlier, The Associated Press reported.
Weekly jobless claims have fallen significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January, a sign of the job market’s growing strength as businesses reopen and consumers increase spending, AP reported.
Nevertheless, the pace of application is still well above the approximately 230,000 level from before the pandemic began ravaging the economy in March 2020.
With widely available vaccines and loosened restrictions on businesses, increased spending has subsequently boosted hiring, slowed layoffs and accelerated the economy, which grew last quarter by 6.4% and is likely to be stronger this quarter, AP reported.