Almost 720,000 U.S. workers have filed for new unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday.
The report said about 719,000 workers filed new claims last week, an increase of 61,000 from the previous week.
Most experts predicted about 675,000 new jobless claims. The department on Thursday also revised down the previous week’s claims by 26,000.
The number of weekly claims remains high compared to the 2019 levels, when new claims averaged about 200,000 per week.
Thursday’s report also said the national unemployment rate for last week was 2.7 percent, unchanged from the previous week. Analysts say the rate reflects more recovery in the U.S. job market.
Claims have been trending downward in recent weeks as the U.S. economy continues to reopen and Americans receive vaccinations for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). In last week’s report, new claims declined by almost 100,000 and represented the lowest weekly figure (781,000) in more than a year.
There were about 3.8 million continuing claims last week, which lag initial claims by a week.
Thursday’s report came a day before the department releases its March jobs report. Most economists expect the report to show about 600,000 new jobs for the month.
In their private-sector jobs assessment, ADP and Moody’s Analytics said Wednesday that 517,000 U.S. payrolls were added during the month of March. SOVEREIGNPH