A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a continued decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended May 23rd.
The Labor Department said initial jobless claims dropped to 2.123 million, a decrease of 323,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 2.446 million.
Economists had expected jobless claims to fall to 2.100 million from the 2.438 million originally reported for the previous week.
With the decrease, jobless claims pulled back further off the record high of 6.867 million set in the week ended March 28th.
While jobless claims have steadily decreased over the past several weeks, the number of claims since the coronavirus-induced lockdown now exceeds 40 million.
The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also fell to 2.608 million, a decrease of 436,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 3.044 million.
Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, tumbled by 3.860 million to 21.052 million in the week ended May 16th.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of continuing claims climbed to 22,722,250, an increase of 760,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 21,962,000.
The Labor Department is scheduled to release its closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of May next Friday.