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US jobless claims fell below 412,000 as the economy heals

Many Americans started to apply for unemployment benefits last week as the job market improved.
On Thursday, the Labor Department said that jobless claims fell just 8,000 from the previous week to 412,000. Weekly shares fell this year from around 900,000 in January.

On Thursday, the government also reported that the economy expanded in the first three months of this year. Economists are optimistic about the growth in the April-June quarter when it might top 12% at an annual rate. As the pandemic decreases, cities and states are lifting more business restrictions. The economy is recovering as people started to travel, eat out more, and visit amusement parks and movie theaters.

Last week, unemployment also jumped 14,600 in Pennsylvania, considered the most significant gain by state. Pennsylvania reported its benefits earlier this month.

According to the latest data available, 14.9 million Americans received benefits during the week.

Changing plans in aiding system

Some states started to cut pandemic-related unemployment aid programs. In response to the business complaints, the assistance makes it hard for employers to find workers. Twenty-six states might end a $300 weekly unemployment payment, and 22 of those states would also cut jobless service to gig workers, self-employed, and those out of work for about six months.

Economists at Bank of America estimated that people earning less than $33,000 a year at their previous jobs could receive jobless aid with the extra $300. At the same time, last year, the federal government made two unemployment benefit programs that covered millions of contract workers and self-employed for the first time.

Last week, four states: Iowa, Alaska, Missouri, and Mississippi, stopped providing the $300 payment. In Missouri, Iowa, and Mississippi, about 164,000 people no longer receive jobless aid.
Around 2.4 million people will lose all their unemployment aid in the other 22 states.

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