image Economic Indicators5 hours ago (Apr 30, 2020 08:34AM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Noreen Burke – The number of Americans applying for initial unemployment benefits decreased to 3.83 million in the week ending April 25, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday, as the economy continues to reel from nationwide lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Continuing claims, which record the number of people already receiving benefits jumped to a record 17.99 million in the week ending April 18, the report said, up from 15.81 million a week earlier. Continuing claims data is reported with a one-week lag.

Analysts polled by had expected initial jobless claims to fall to 3.5 million and continuing claims to rise to 19.2 million.

The number of weekly claims has been moving lower since hitting a record 6.8 million in the week ended March 28, as overwhelmed state employment offices cleared backlogs.

With initial claims for jobless benefits starting to stabilize, attention is shifting to the number of people remaining on unemployment benefits to get a better sense of the depth of the labor market downturn.

The figures come one day after a report showing the U.S. economy contracted at an 4.8% annualized rate in the first quarter, ending the longest expansion in U.S. history.

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates near zero after its meeting on Wednesday and promised to expand emergency programs as needed to help the struggling economy.and repeated a vow to use its “full range of tools” amid what it now says are “considerable risks” over the medium term, perhaps a year or more.

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Total 3.8 Million in Latest Week

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