Unemployment claims decrease as the labor market struggles advance

Initial unemployment insurance claims last week totaled 793,000 as declining Covid-19 cases barely relieved the job market.

The total for the week ending February 6 was above the forecast of 760,000 forecast by economists polled by Dow Jones, but a slight decrease from the previous week’s revised upward of 812,000.

The pandemic has put the labor market in a long struggle to return to its previous levels. The number of non-farm workers rose by just 49,000 in January, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, largely due to a decline in the labor force.

There are more than 10 million unemployed, although more than 12.5 million jobs have been reclaimed since the depths of the pandemic in March and April 2020.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday the employment picture was “far off” and the central bank was determined to keep interest rates low until much more progress is made.

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