Weekly claims for unemployment benefits in the United States fell below pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, prompting mass layoffs, a milestone in the country’s economic recovery.
According to the data, this is the lowest registration since November 1969, much lower than analysts’ forecast (who had expected 265,000 new registrations) and a drop of 71,000 over the previous week.
Weekly claims for jobless benefits jumped into the millions last year, with mass layoffs as part of restrictions to contain the pandemic.
They then marked a decline in 2020, although they remained high before falling substantially this year, as part of a vaccination campaign that allows for widespread reinfection.
Economist Mohamed El-Erian called the announcement “good news for the economy“, although he said it was not clear whether it signaled a change in opinion among many who had decided not to return to work.
“The big question for the labor market is its ability to increase labor force participation,” he said on Twitter.