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US weekly unemployment benefits fall to 17-month low

19 Aug 2021 03:00 PM

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 17-month low last week, indicating another month of strong job growth, even though a spike in novel coronavirus infections poses a risk to the labor market recovery.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 for the week ending August 14. The fourth consecutive weekly decline has pushed claims to their lowest level since mid-March 2020, when mandatory closures of non-essential businesses were imposed to slow the first wave of coronavirus cases.

Claims have fallen from a record 6.149 million in early April 2020 but remain above the 200,000-250,000-range seen as compatible with healthy labor market conditions.

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