Economy

Fewest Americans collecting unemployment aid since 1970…

The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell to a 52-year low after another decline in jobless aid applications last week.

Jobless claims fell by 17,000, from 249,000 to 232,000 for the week ending Feb. 19, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 7,250 to 236,250. It was the third straight week of declines after rising for five straight weeks as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spread, disrupting business in many parts of the U.S.

In total, 1,476,000 Americans were collecting jobless aid the week that ended Feb. 5, a decrease of about 112,000 from the previous week and the lowest level since March 14, 1970, the government said.

First-time applications for jobless aid generally track the pace of layoffs, which are back down to fairly healthy pre-pandemic levels.

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