Despite difficulties, the job market is on a positive trend.
Thanks to the proliferation of vaccines and the implementation of pandemic safety practices like masks and social distancing, US workers have been gradually returning to work in recent months after a year of pandemic-induced limbo. While the job market still has a long way to go before it can return to level considered normal, the last few reports on jobless benefit claims have shown a positive trend.
According to the US Department of Labor’s latest report of new claimants of unemployment benefits, initial unemployment claims dropped to 547,000 last week. Not only is this number an improvement over the previous week’s claims, which numbered around 586,00, but it is the lowest amount of unemployment claims the US has seen since the pandemic began in earnest in March of last year. It is also an improvement over the 617,000 new claims that analysts were expecting. Continuing unemployment claims, while still in the millions, are also on a positive trend, numbering approximately 3.67 million, which is around 34,000 less than the week prior. This is nearly half of the continuing unemployment claims seen at the pandemic’s early peak in April 2020.
Worker filings for jobless claims reached another pandemic low at 547,000 last week. The decline is a sign the labor market is strengthening. https://t.co/LCo9JCmQ4k
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) April 22, 2021
“Unemployment Insurance claims dropped across most states, a positive indication that the decline is broad-based rather than the result of changes in just a few states,” said Glassdoor senior economist Danial Zhao via Twitter. “Claims are still over double pre-crisis levels, but at least are making progress.”
In addition to returning jobs, the retail sector, which saw major hits as people quarantined at home and did their shopping online, is beginning to see a resurgence as well. This past March, retail sales were up by a cumulative 9.8% as shoppers regain confidence in the safety and convenience of their retailers.