(Washington, DC) -- First-time claims for unemployment benefits are down dramatically for the second week in a row. Initial claims fell to 547-thousand last week, 39-thousand fewer than the week before. Analysts had been forecasting 695-thousand Americans filing initial claims last week, 119-thousand more than the week before. Claims are lower than they've been in more than a year but eight-million fewer Americans are working now than before the pandemic began.
The biggest jumps in initial claims last week were in New York, Florida, Alabama, Washington, and Georgia. The steepest declines were in California, Virginia, Ohio, Texas, and Kentucky.