WASHINGTON, Aug 12 (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits declined last week, a sign that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to gather momentum.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 375,000 for the week ending Aug. 7. The data for the previous week was revised to show 2,000 more requests received than originally reported.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 375,000 requests for the past week. Unadjusted orders, which offer a better reading of the labor market, fell by 5,198 to 320,517 last week.
Claims remain well above their pre-pandemic level of 256,000, although they have fallen from a record 6,149 million in early April 2020.
There are still fears that the increase in coronavirus cases from the Delta variant could slow the recovery of employment amid a shortage of workers. There was a record 10.1 million job offers at the end of June. Some 8.7 million people are officially unemployed.
The recovery of the labor market has a long way to go. Some 12.055 million people, like the previous report, were receiving unemployment checks under all programs at the end of July.
The economy has quickly regained momentum and surpassed its pre-pandemic peak in the second quarter as trillions of dollars in government aid and increased COVID-19 vaccinations boosted spending on goods and services.
A separate Labor Department report also released Thursday showed U.S. producer prices rose more than expected in June, suggesting that inflation could remain high as strong demand fueled by the recovery continues to hurt stocks. supply chains.
The producer price index for final demand rose 1.0% last month, after rising by the same proportion in June. In the 12 months to July, the PPI rose 7.8%.