The number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 385,000 in the most recent week tallied by the U.S. labor department, a 15-month low and the second consecutive total below 400,000.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a median of 387,000.
The firming job market is due to the succeeding vaccination campaign, lifting of restrictions on movement and business, and employers’ reluctance to lose workers they now have, the Wall Street Journal noted.
“Employers have lots of [open] jobs,” David Berson, chief economist at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., said to the WSJ.
“They can’t find people so they’re holding very tight to the workers they have,” he said.
The number of new jobless claims remains about twice the pre-crisis average.
Continuing claims edged up to 3.77 million, worse than the median estimate of 3.62 million and also about twice the pre-crisis average.
In May, the number of new U.S. job openings climbed to 559,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the end of April, the number of unfilled jobs stood at 9.3 million, the labor department said, the most since 2000.
Economists’ median estimate had been 8.3 million openings, Business Insider reported.
TRENDPOST: Factors keeping jobs unfilled include potential employees still fearing the virus, mothers unable to find affordable child care, workers lacking the skills jobs demand, and the federal $300 weekly
unemployment benefit, which raises the average weekly jobless payment in the U.S. to $618, more than a worker earns putting in 40 hours a week at $15 an hour.
More than two dozen states are moving to end the federal benefit in their jurisdictions before the program expires at the end of September.