WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits decreased slightly last week to a new pandemic low of 267,000 as the economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly ups and downs, dropped by nearly 7,300 to 278,000, also a pandemic low.
Altogether, 2.2 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment benefits during the week that ended Oct. 30.
Since topping 900,000 in early January, weekly applications have steadily dropped, moving ever closer to pre-pandemic levels just above 200,000.
The job market has been rebounding for the past year and a half. In March and April of 2020, employers slashed more than 22 million jobs as governments ordered lockdowns and consumers and workers stayed home as a health precaution. Since then, employers have added more than 18 million jobs — including 531,000 last month — as the rollout of vaccines and government relief programs gave consumers the confidence and financial wherewithal to resume spending.
Now many businesses, scrambling to keep up with demand, complain they can’t find workers to fill their job openings — a near-record 10.4 million in August.
Still, the economy remains more than 4 million jobs short of where it stood in February 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.