The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic started in mid-March.
The latest jobless claims figures from the Labor Department, which cover the week ending August 1, show that more than 1.18 million workers sought aid last week, pushing the total number since the shutdown began to more than 55 million.
It marks the 20th consecutive week that jobless claims came in above 1 million; before the pandemic, the record high was 695,000, set in 1982.
Continuing claims, the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell by 844,000 to 16.1 million.
“Falling unemployment insurance claims is a positive sign the recovery is progressing cautiously,” said Daniel Zhao, senior Glassdoor economist. “However, this report also shows that unemployment benefits remain a vital life preserver for tens of millions of Americans during a health and economic crisis.”