Unemployment filings fall to 166,000; lowest weekly level in 54 years


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First-time unemployment filings among American workers have fallen to a 54-year low, the Labor Department said Thursday in its weekly jobless snapshot.

Initial claims last week fell by about 5,000 to 166,000 — the fewest since 1968.

The department also revised down last week’s report from 202,000 to 171,000, due to a methodology change in adjustment factors based on a weakening economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prior to the pandemic, the unemployment insurance claims series used multiplicative models to seasonally adjust the claims,” the Labor Department said in a statement.

“Now that most of the large effects of the pandemic … have lessened, the seasonal adjustment models are once again specified as multiplicative models.”

The report said the four-week moving average for new filings is 170,000, a decrease of 8,000 from last week.

According to the department update, the total number of unemployment benefits for the week ending March 26 was 1.5 million — a weekly increase of 17,000.

Several times over the past few months, the number of first-time claims has fallen to historically low levels.

“America is back to work. Over the last four weeks, fewer Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance than at any time in our nation’s recorded history,” President Joe Biden said in a statement after the report Thursday.

“This historic job growth is a direct result of the American Rescue Plan, which funded our vaccination strategy, reopened schools and helped grow the economy.”

Employment data show an ongoing worker shortage, with about 5 million more available jobs than workers.

Last week, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 431,000 jobs during the month of March — slightly fewer than most analysts

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