Number of Americans Collecting Jobless Aid Lowest in 50 Years: Labor Department

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
April 21, 2022 Updated: April 21, 2022

Applications for jobless claims edged down in the week ending April 9 to their lowest level since 1970, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 9 was 1,417,000, a decrease of 58,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 1,475,000. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since February 21, 1970, when it was 1,412,000,” said an April 21 news release (pdf) from the Labor Department.

“The 4-week moving average was 1,481,750, a decrease of 31,250 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 21, 1970, when it was 1,456,750.”

Seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ending April 16 was 184,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 186,000. While initial claims report new jobless benefit filings, continuing claims are a measure of ongoing jobless benefit claims for multiple weeks.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1 percent for the week ending April 9, lower by 0.1 percent from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 9 were in the states of Missouri, Michigan, California, Indiana, and Texas. The biggest declines in initial claims were seen in Ohio, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, and Hawaii.

The highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending April 2 were in New Jersey, California, Alaska, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and the Virgin Islands.

The unemployment claims data underscores the “continuing strength of the job market,” Mark Hamrick, Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate told The Epoch Times. The weekly jobless claims data is seen as an indication of the tightness in the labor market.

“The claims picture aligns with the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, showing strong demand for workers across most of the country and most sectors of industry. The shortage of available candidates remains a prevailing theme.”

The Fed survey showed that several firms were experiencing “significant turnover” as workers depart for jobs with better play and flexible work schedules, Hamrick said.

Some employers are now less demanding about who they hire, even taking in employees with lower skills and qualifications, while also being more open to hybrid and remote work options.

In a recent earnings call, Bank of America CFO Alastair Borthwick pointed out that the bank’s clients are experiencing labor and wage pressure. Rising labor costs can end up eating into profit margins.

“For companies, labor costs, which account for roughly 70 percent of total costs, are far more important than materials costs,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note on April 19, according to Yahoo Finance.

“While wage gains are not keeping up with price increases, building cost pressures are a risk for company bottom lines.”

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.