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US initial jobless claims hit new low

Initial jobless claims in the US dropped to 310,000 last week amid a Delta variant-fuelled Covid-19 resurgence, hitting a new low since the beginning of the pandemic early last year, the Labour Department said.

In the week ending September 4, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 35,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 345,000, according to a report released on Thursday by the Department’s Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The latest figure marked the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000, reports Xinhua news agency.

In recent months, initial jobless claims have hit fresh lows by multiple times, but the declining trend was repeatedly reversed, indicating a bumpy economic recovery.

The latest report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending August 28 decreased by 22,000 to 2.78 million.

That number peaked in April and May last year, when it was over 20 million.

Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, state and federal combined, for the week ending August 21 decreased by 255,757 to 11.9 million.

That number is expected to decrease significantly in the coming weeks as federal unemployment benefits for over 10 million people expire on September 13.

Some 7.5 million workers or more will lose all their benefits and nearly 3 million will lose a $300 weekly federal boost to state unemployment payments, according to The Century Foundation, a progressive, non-partisan think tank.