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U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fall to 4.42 Million

imageEconomic Indicators16 hours ago (Apr 23, 2020 08:32AM ET)

(C) Reuters. – The number of Americans applying for initial unemployment benefits decreased to 4.42 million last week from a downwardly revised 5.23 million in the prior week, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday, the third straight weekly decline, while remaining at historically unprecedented levels.

The number of people already receiving benefits jumped to a record 15.97 million, the report said, up from 11.91 million a week earlier.

Analysts polled by had expected initial jobless claims to fall to 4.2 million and continuing claims to rise to 16.48 million.

The decline in weekly claims raised hopes that the worst damage inflicted on the labor market by the coronavirus pandemic may be over. Weekly claims appeared to have peaked at a record 6.867 million in the week ended March 28.

The last five weeks have seen more than 26 million jobs lost across the U.S. economy, as states and local governments have issued “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” orders to control the spread of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. That’s more than the 22 million jobs created in the U.S. since the global financial crisis. Economic activity has halted and there have been waves of layoffs.

“The U.S. economy is hemorrhaging jobs at a pace and scale never before recorded,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco. “It compares to a natural disaster on a national scale.”

Analysts are predicting the economy, which they believe is already in recession, contracted at its sharpest pace since World War II in the first quarter.

New home sales, due at 10 AM ET, are expected to have fallen 15% on the month in March, while the Kansas City Fed’s business survey at 11 AM is likely to follow the trail blazed by the Empire State manufacturing index and Philly Fed survey earlier in the month.

–Reuters contributed to this report

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fall to 4.42 Million

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