US weekly jobless claims rise to 719K


Initial unemployment claims in the US rose to 719,000 last week, after dropping to the lowest level since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Labour Department.

In the week ending March 27, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased by 61,000 from the previous week’s downwardly revised level of 658,000, according to a report released by the Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Thursday.

The latest report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending March 20 decreased by 46,000 to reach 3.79 million, reports Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, state and federal combined, for the week ending March 13 decreased by 1.5 million to 18.2 million, as the country continues to grapple with the fallout of the pandemic.

Last spring as Covid-19 shutdowns rippled through the workforce, initial jobless claims spiked by 3 million to reach a record 3.3 million in the week ending March 21, 2020, and then doubled to reach a record 6.87 million in the week ending March 28.

After that, the number, though at record highs, has been declining overall, but the trend was reversed multiple times since July 2020 amid Covid-19 resurgence.

According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE)’s semiannual Global Economic Prospects released Thursday, US unemployment will decline to 5.0 per cent by year-end and 4.4 per cent by the end of 2022.

Thursday’s claims report came a day before the crucial monthly employment report released by the BLS, which will include employment data from both the private sector and the government.