Claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. last week remained near their lowest level in a decade as the country continues its economic recovery from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Labor Department report showed a figure of 207,000 new applications in the week ending January 1, 7,000 more than in the previous period, but the total has fluctuated around 200,000 for a month.
Even with last week's increase, recent numbers have been well below the 256,000 recorded in mid-March 2020, as the pandemic began.
The sharp decline in claims for unemployment benefits from 900,000 in January 2021 indicates that many employers are retaining their workers, even as millions have quit their jobs to move to other companies offering better wages and benefits.
Many employers are looking to hire, despite the fact that about 6.9 million people are still counted as unemployed in the United States.
At the end of November, there were 10.4 million job openings, but the training of workers available was not what the employers were looking for or the positions were not in their area of residence.
Additionally, many of the jobs were low-paying in service positions not very attractive to the workforce.
American employers only added 210,000 new jobs in November, but overall there are already 6.1 million jobs created in the first 11 months of 2021, in a faster recovery than economists expected a year ago.
The unemployment rate fell in November to 4.2%, a figure that some experts did not project until mid-2024.
Data on job creation and unemployment rate for December will be released on Friday.
* With information from Ken Bredemeier, VOA.
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