Unemployment claims fell 17,000 from 249,000 to 232,000 in the week ended February 19, according to US data.
The number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits fell to a 52-year low after a drop in unemployment benefits applications last week.
Unemployment claims fell 17,000 from 249,000 to 232,000 in the week ended Feb. 19, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
The four-week average for claims offsetting weekly volatility was down 7,250 to 236,250. It was the third week of these declines after rising for five consecutive weeks as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spread, disrupting many parts of the US.
The government said a total of 1,476,000 Americans collected unemployment benefits for the week ending Feb.
First-time applications for unemployment benefits often follow the pace of layoffs, which have returned to fairly healthy pre-pandemic levels.
Earlier this month, the Department of Labor reported a staggering hiring boom in January, with employers adding 467,000 jobs. It also revised upwards its forecast for a total employment growth of 709,000 in November and December. As more people started looking for work, the unemployment rate rose from 3.9 percent to 4 percent, but not all were able to find jobs right away.
A winter surge in coronavirus infections briefly accelerated the country’s recovery from the virus-induced recession in 2020, but employers seem confident of long-term growth and are willing to hire.
Huge government spending and the introduction of vaccines have stimulated the economy, with employers adding a record 6.4 million jobs last year. The U.S. economy grew 5.7 percent in 2021, the fastest annual growth rate since the 7.2 percent increase in 1984, again after a recession.
Inflation is also at a 40-year high — 7.5 percent year over year — causing the Federal Reserve to ease its monetary support to the economy. The Fed reversed its pandemic-era policies that spurred hiring and growth, signaling it would begin a series of rate hikes in March.