Mar 24, 2022 - Economy & Business

New unemployment claims drop to lowest level since 1969

Now Hiring signs are displayed in front of restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on March 19, 2022.

Now Hiring signs are displayed in front of restaurants in Rehoboth Beach, Del., on March 19. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level in 53 years, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

Driving the news: Initial jobless claims decreased by 28,000 from the previous week to 187,000. The previous week's figure was 215,000, according to the department.

  • The four-week average for new claims fell to 211,750, a decrease from the previous week’s average of 223,250.
  • The total number of Americans collecting unemployment insurance the week of March 12 was 1,350,000, the lowest level since 1970, according to the department.

The big picture: The U.S. government said earlier this month that employers added 678,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%.

What they're saying: "Americans are getting back to work at a historic pace, with fewer Americans on unemployment insurance today than at any time in the last half century," President Biden said in a statement on Thursday.

  • "This historic progress is no accident: it’s the result of an economic strategy to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, starting with the American Rescue Plan."
  • "We will continue the fight to lower costs with every tool at our disposal, from making more here in America and rebuilding our supply chains, to lowering costs that have held back Americans for decades, to promoting competition to ensure markets can operate effectively and consumers are protected," Biden said.

Go deeper: The winter jobs boom

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