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May 27, 2021 10:45 AM, EDT

US Jobless Claims Fall Again to New Pandemic Low

A workers puts down a table cloth at a restaurant in San Francisco. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News) A workers puts down a table cloth at a restaurant in San Francisco. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)

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Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance fell for a fourth consecutive week as more Americans get vaccinated and businesses reopen to eager customers.

Initial claims in regular state programs decreased by 38,000 to 406,000 in the week ended May 22, Labor Department data showed May 27. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 425,000 applications.

The decrease in claims underscores the labor market recovery is chugging along as remaining pandemic restrictions are eased. Hiring is expected to continue to pick up in the coming months as more Americans travel and socialize.

U.S. jobless claims hit fresh pandemic low.

Claims data has been volatile during the pandemic due to backlogs, fraud and new programs. Also, multiple states have recently announced plans to pull out of federal unemployment benefit programs amid a debate about whether the aid is making it more difficult for employers to hire workers.

Stocks climbed after the jobless claims report as well as separate data showing orders for U.S. business equipment rose more than forecast. Orders placed with factories for business equipment rose in April by the most in eight months, the Commerce Department said May 27. Treasury yields rose, while the dollar was little changed.

Washington, New Jersey and Florida led among states with the biggest declines last week, the May 27 data show.

Continuing claims for ongoing state benefits declined in the week ended May 15.

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