US jobless claims rise to 744,000 as retrenchments continue

The United States department of labour said Thursday that applications increased by 16,000 from 728,000 a week earlier

A man working on a computer
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has risen last week to 744,000, signalling that many employers are still cutting jobs. Picture: Marc Mueller/Pexels

PRETORIA, March 8 (ANA) – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 744,000, signalling that many employers were still cutting jobs, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.

In a story on its website, the broadcaster said the United States (US) department of labour said that applications increased by 16,000 from 728,000 a week earlier.

CNBC said the news came a week after the labour market showed signs of healing as nonfarm payrolls in March increased by 916,000 while the unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent.

“That was the biggest job gain since August, though unemployment remains well above the pre-pandemic low of 3.5 percent,” the broadcaster reported.

According to CNBC, California and New York accounted for most of the rise in jobs, with respective increases of 38,963 and 15,714.

The broadcaster added that continuing claims provided some good news on the labour front, with the total dropping 16,000 to 3.73 million.

“That’s the lowest level for continuing claims since March 21, 2020, just after the Covid pandemic hit.”

The Chicago Tribune cited economists saying that they think the still-high level of unemployment applications should gradually fade.

“Jobless claims may bounce around week to week as the recovery takes hold, but we expect they will start to decline more consistently as the economy gains momentum,” economists Nancy Vanden Houten and Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics were quoted saying in a research note.

“We expect the stellar March jobs report to be the first of many and look for a hiring boom in the spring and summer months.’’

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay

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