Jobless claims keep tumbling
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to 406,000, another pandemic low and a 9 percent fall from the week before. The unemployment rate, now 6.1 percent, is still almost twice what it was before the pandemic when the rate was just 3.5 percent. But many businesses can’t find enough applicants for all the open jobs.
What’s going on? Almost 16 million people received unemployment aid during the week of May 8, the latest period for which data is available. That’s nearly eight times as many people as received jobless payments when the unemployment rate was at 6.1 percent in August 2014, and roughly the same proportion of adults had jobs. Federal programs during the pandemic made far more people eligible for unemployment than in the past. Many businesses say so-called enhanced jobless benefits are paying people as much to stay home as they would make at work.
Dig deeper: Listen to Nick Eicher and David Bahnsen on The World and Everything in It discuss why businesses are having a hard time hiring enough people.
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