MARCH 29, 2021 – JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL TO PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS
Last week, jobless claims fell to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic. Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to 684,000 from 781,000 from a week earlier. This is the lowest level since mid-March of last year. However, total continuing unemployment claims rose slightly to 19 million last week from 18.2 million a week earlier. Widespread vaccines, easing of business restrictions and government stimulus payments are helping drive the early stage of this recovery, as people increase their spending on in-person services. US employers added 379,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.2 percent, but well above the 3.5 percent a year earlier.
Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal raised their average forecast for 2021 economic growth to 5.95 percent up from 4.87 percent in February. If achieved, this higher number would mean the fastest pace of growth in 40 years.