WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low and the most recent evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs as customers end up spending and more businesses reopen.
The decrease -- the fourth in the past five months -- coincides with a rash of nations headed by Republican governors who have blamed expanded jobless benefits for a slowdown in hiring and are acting to cut off the additional help.
Thursday's report by the Labor Department showed that applications diminished 34,000 from a revised 507,000 per week earlier. The amount of weekly jobless claims -- a rough measure of the pace of layoffs -- has fallen considerably from a peak of 900,000 in January.
Last week unemployment claims marked the lowest level since March of this past year, when the viral pandemic erupted throughout the economy. The decline in applications is coinciding with a steadily growing market. The reopening has moved so quickly that lots of companies are not yet able to team up as fast as they'd like.
In April, employers added 266,000 occupations , much fewer than expected. The surprisingly tepid gain raised concerns that businesses might find it tough to rapidly add tasks as the economy keeps improving and that regaining pre-pandemic employment levels could take longer than hoped.
In Thursday's report on jobless claims, the government said almost 16.9 million people were getting unemployment aid during the week of April 24, the most recent period for which information is available. That's up from 16.2 million from the previous week and indicates that hiring was not powerful enough to pull people off unemployment.
The rise in unemployment recipients occurred mostly in California and Michigan, in which over 600,000 individuals were added to the national jobless benefit program that was set up for gig employees and builders.
The hiring downturn has caused a political backlash against several national expansions to unemployment benefits, such as an additional $300 in weekly benefits paid due to the federal government, on top of state payments that average roughly $320. The supplement has been included in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulation measure, approved in March, and is set to expire the week of Sept. 6.
But so far, 12 states -- all with GOP governors -- have announced that they will stop paying the extra advantage as soon as June or July. In Tennessee, for instance, Gov. Bill Lee said the country will stop issuing the payment July 3. In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson stated on Twitter it will end June 12.
The 12 states will even finish their participation in two federal benefit programs: One which has made gig employees as well as the self-employed eligible for assistance for the first time, along with another which provides extra weeks of help. Together, those programs cover 12.5 million people nationally.
Businesses have mentioned the additional $300 as a reason they are struggling to employ . An analysis by Bank of America economists found that people who had earned up to $32,000 in their previous projects can get as much or more income from jobless aid. Some unemployed men and women say the extra benefit allows them to take more hours to look for work, which can make hiring harder.
There are other factors which help explain why many men and women that are out of work might be hesitant to take tasks. Some worry that working in restaurants, hotels or other services businesses will expose them to the virus, according to government studies. In addition, many women, particularly working mothers, have had to leave the workforce to look after kids who are still in online school for at least aspect of their week.
The Century Foundation, a think thank, quotes that the movement by the 12 says will cut off benefits for 895,000 individuals. Along with Tennessee and Missouri, another countries are: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming.
Half of the unemployment benefit recipients in Alabama and South Carolina are Dark; in Mississippi, two-thirds are.
Biden before this week contested the idea that the $300 payment is to blame for its drop-off in hiring previous month. However, he also urged the Labor Department to work with states on renewing requirements that recipients of unemployment aid must search for jobs and have a position if offered.
The job search rule was suspended throughout the pandemic, when many companies were closed and employment chances were few. The vast majority of countries have reinstated it.
"Anyone collecting unemployment, who's offered a suitable job must choose the job or lose their unemployment benefits," Biden said.