Initial claims totaled 498,000 for the week ended March 1, against a Dow Jones estimate of 527,000. This was down from the previous week’s total of 590,000, which saw an upward revision substantial compared to the 553,000 initially reported.
Although the pace has slowed down lately, the United States still vaccinates more than 2 million people a day and will soon have half the population with at least one vaccine.
The drop in claims comes a day before the Labor Department publishes its non-farm tally for April. Economists expect the economy to add 1 million more jobs during the month, with hiring likely the fastest in the hospitality sector, which has suffered the worst of the damage from the economy. pandemic.
However, continuing claims actually increased last week, from 37,000 to just under 3.7 million. The four-week moving average of claims edged down to 3.68 million, the lowest since March 28, 2020, as massive layoffs began to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.
State-level only Kentucky reported a noticeable increase, with its claims increasing by 4,657, according to unadjusted figures. Virginia (-23,909), Florida (-9,662) and California (-7,402) were among the states with significant declines.
Total benefit recipients fell from 404,509 to 16.16 million due to a sharp decline in pandemic-related programs.
A separate economic report showed that labor productivity of non-farm businesses accelerated 5.4% in the first quarter, well above the Dow Jones estimate of 4.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unit labor costs fell 0.3%, which was not as much as the forecast of 1%.
Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews, and access to CNBC TV.
Sign up to start a free trial today.