US Jobless Claims Drop to 444,000 - Lowest Since Start of Pandemic
According to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday, 444,000 Americans claimed first-time jobless benefits over the last week, a 34,000 drop from the previous week and the lowest number since the start of the pandemic last year.
Despite the lower than expected jobs report earlier this month, this is an encouraging sign that layoffs may be slowing down because of an improving job market.
With the job market seemingly heading in the right direction, 22 states, all with Republican Governors and Republican-led state legislatures, have acted to block the $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit saying that the extra money is discouraging the unemployed from seeking jobs. Florida and Kansas, two more Republican-led states, are also considering taking the same action.
21 of those states say they also intend to cut off unemployment aid for the self-employed and independent contractors in the hopes that this will encourage more people to seek out jobs. These workers became eligible for aid in a relief package that was passed near the start of the pandemic.
Consumer spending is also up, leading economists to think that the US economy could expand as much as 7% this year.
Despite the positive trends, many economists are concerned that the sudden increase in consumer demand will lead to additional inflation (we have already experienced a spike in inflation this year), a concern that Wall Street also shares.
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