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Layoffs fall to another pandemic low, with under 500,000 unemployment claims

The number of workers filing first-time jobless claims fell to another pandemic low, showing that layoffs are abating as the job market heals.

Some 406,000 people filed for unemployment aid last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. It's a drop of 38,000 from the prior week, and marks the fourth week in a row that first-time jobless filings have hit a new low.

Another 93,000 people applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program for self-employed and gig workers.

The decline in applications reflects a swift rebound in economic growth. More Americans are venturing out to shop, travel, dine out and congregate at entertainment venues. The renewed spending has led companies to seek new workers, with a record number of job openings now being advertised.

With businesses complaining they're unable to find workers, most Republican governors have moved to cut off a $300 weekly federal supplement. Next month, 20 states are ending two emergency federal programs — one that provides unemployment aid to gig workers and the self-employed, and another for workers unemployed longer than six months.

Nationwide, nearly 16 million people are receiving some form of jobless assistance. The unemployment rate stands at 6.1%, far higher than its pre-pandemic level of 3.5%.

This is a developing story.

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