Americans receiving unemployment aid drop to record low

The Labor Department said seasonally adjusted insured unemployment came in at 1.307 million in the week ended March 19, the lowest figure since the week of December 27, 1969, when it was 1.304 million.

Image: Pexels

WASHINGTON - Fewer Americans were receiving regular unemployment benefits than at any time in more than five decades, government data said Thursday, in a confirmation of the tightness of the US job market.

The Labor Department said seasonally adjusted insured unemployment came in at 1.307 million in the week ended March 19, the lowest figure since the week of December 27, 1969, when it was 1.304 million.

The number underscored how strongly the labor market had recovered after unemployment spiked to levels not seen since the Great Depression when Covid-19 broke out two years ago.

After dropping to its own five-decade low in the week ended March 19, the data said the number of new claims for unemployment benefits rose by 14,000 last week to 202,000, seasonally adjusted, slightly above analysts' forecasts.

Nancy Vanden Houten of Oxford Economics said she didn't expect the overall number of people receiving aid to increase, given how strong job growth has been in recent months.

New claims will also stay low, she said in an analysis, because "employers, who continue to struggle to attract and retain workers, are likely to keep layoffs to a minimum."