Initial jobless claims in the US last week fell to 260,000 after hitting a three-month high amid the Omicron-led Covid-19 surge, the Labour Department reported on Thursday.
In the week ending January 22, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits decreased by 30,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 290,000, according to a report released by the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Prior to that, the figure had been rising for three weeks in a row, as the fast-spreading Covid-19 Omicron variant continued to disrupt labour market recovery, reports Xinhua news agency.
In the week ending January 15, initial jobless claims hit the highest level since mid-October.
The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 15,000 to 247,000, according to the BLS report.
The latest jobless claims report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending January 15 increased by 51,000 to 1.675 million. That number peaked in April and May in 2020, when it was over 20 million.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs — state and federal combined — for the week ending January 8 rose by 8,444 to 2.14 million.