US jobless claims tick up to 373,000

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FILE – In this Friday, Jan. 8, 2021 file photo, A man walks out of a Marc’s Store in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. With viral cases declining, consumers spending again and more businesses easing restrictions, America’s employers likely delivered another month of robust hiring in April, reinforcing the economy’s steady rebound from the pandemic recession. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) —  The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week even as the economy and the job market appear to be rebounding from the coronavirus recession with sustained energy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that jobless claims increased by 2,000 from the previous week to 373,000.  Weekly applications, which generally track the pace of layoffs, have fallen steadily this year from more than 900,000 at the start of the year.

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Claims have dropped from a record 6.149 million in early April 2020, but are still above the 200,000-250,000 range that is viewed as consistent with a healthy labor market. The number of continued claims dropped 145,000 to 3.39 million.

“For the first time in three weeks, new claims posted a modest increase from the previous week’s upwardly revised level,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. “With a seasonally adjusted gain of 2,000 new claims to 373,000, it wasn’t a big move but just enough to make a difference. It is worth noting that aside from the number of new claims, continuing claims and the total number of individuals receiving some form of jobless assistance were on the decline.”

The rollout of vaccinations is driving a potent economic recovery as businesses reopen, employers struggle to fill jobs and consumers emerge from months of lockdown to travel, shop and spend at restaurants, bars, retailers and entertainment venues.

The economy is recovering so quickly that many companies can’t find workers fast enough to meet their increased customer demand. On Wednesday, the government said that U.S. employers posted 9.21 million jobs in May, the most since record-keeping began in 2000.

And in June, employers added a strong 850,000 jobs, and hourly pay rose a solid 3.6% compared with a year ago — faster than the pre-pandemic annual pace and a sign that companies are being compelled to pay more to attract and keep workers.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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