Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The number of new claims filed for unemployment benefits dropped last week to its lowest level in the last seven years, an indication that the labor market is bouncing back strongly from a soft spell caused by the severe winter.
In the week ended April 5, initial claims for unemployment benefits, which measure the trend for layoffs, declined 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 300,000. The figure was the largest drop in claims since late 2012, and it brought the overall level down to its lowest since May 2007.
Economists predicted last week’s new claims to be at 320,000.
The four-week moving average of claims, which removes the volatility from the weekly data, declined 4,750 to 316,250.
Unemployment claims have been moving lower in the past few weeks after the unusually harsh weather caused economic disruptions. In the first two months of the year, there were delays in product shipments, people had difficulties getting to their workplace and consumers postponed trips to shopping stores.
In the week ended March 29, the continuing unemployment benefit claims, which are drawn by workers for more than one week, fell by 62,000 to 2,776,000, the lowest since January 2008. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.