US weekly unemployment claims drop to 498K. Image Source: IANS News

Washington, May 7 : Initial unemployment claims in the US dropped to 498,000, a new low since the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the labour market early last year, the Labour Department reported.

In the week ending May 1, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 92,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised level of 590,000, according to a report released on Thursday by the Department's Bureau of Labour Statistics.

This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000, Xinhua news agency reported.

The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 61,000 to 560,000.

The latest report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending April 24 increased by 37,000 to reach 3.69 million.

Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, state and federal combined, for the week ending April 17 decreased by 404,509 to 16.16 million, as the country continues to grapple with the fallout of the pandemic.

Last spring as Covid-19 shutdowns rippled through the workforce, initial unemployment claims spiked by 3 million to reach a record 3.3 million in the week ending March 21, 2020, and then doubled to reach a record 6.87 million in the week ending March 28.

After that, the number, though among record highs, has been declining overall, but the trend was reversed multiple times amid a resurgence.

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