Data collected by the U.S. Department of Labor showed unemployment claims reached their lowest point of the pandemic, WSJ reports.
Why It Matters: Recovery is pressing forward thanks to “widespread vaccinations, easing business restrictions and government stimulus are helping spur economic growth.” All these factors have led to increased spending on in-person services, with restaurants, gyms, hotels and salons benefiting for the first time since being crushed by Covid-19.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. Senior Economist Ben Ayers: “There are fewer people that are losing their jobs. That’s a great sign that things are starting to pick up again for the economy.”
Numbers To Consider:
- Jobless claims were 684,000 last week, the lowest since the pandemic started.
- U.S. employers added 379,000 jobs in February, which knocked the unemployment rate down to 6.2%.
- Economists from a WSJ survey project an economic growth rate of 5.95% for 2021.
The Outlook: Lifting restrictions and government stimulus have seemingly cleared a path to recovery. “President Biden recently signed a $1.9 trillion relief package into law that provides stimulus checks to many households and extends supplemental jobless benefits originally set to expire March 14. Workers claiming unemployment benefits can now receive an additional $300 a week through early September.”
An Aside: States continue to be plagued by identity theft-unemployment claims. Thousands of Americans have gotten 1099-G tax forms, “surprising them with the news that they are victims of unemployment-insurance fraud.” The Labor Department is now sorting through the claims and launched a website that “outlines steps identity-theft victims should take to report and address cases of unemployment fraud.”