Initial unemployment claims in the US dropped to 473,000, a new low since the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the labour market early last year, the Labour Department reported.
In the week ending May 8, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 34,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised level of 507,000, 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 quoted the report as saying.
The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 28,250 to 534,000.
The latest report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending May 1 decreased by 45,000 to reach 3.655 million.
Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, state and federal combined, for the week ending April 24 increased by 696,152 to 16.855 million, as the country continues to grapple with the fallout of the pandemic.
Several Republican-led states have announced they will exit the federal unemployment programs as early as June, a few months before the expiration in September.
The federal aid includes an extra $300 weekly unemployment benefits on top of state benefits.
Governors in these states, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, argued that such supplemental benefits from the federal government keep people from returning to work, leading to worker shortages.