The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 223,000 in the week ending Feb. 5, the Labor Department announced Thursday.
The Labor Department figure showed a decrease of 16,000 claims compared to the week ending Jan. 29, when claims decreased to 239,000. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated that new jobless claims would drop to 230,000.
Claims continue to fall to pre-pandemic levels, with Thursday’s figure marking the third straight week of deceleration, The Wall Street Journal reported. COVID-19 cases are also dropping while some states have begun easing their coronavirus restrictions, the WSJ reported.
“It seems like we’re putting Omicron in the rear view,” Stephen Juneau, senior U.S. economist at Bank of America, told the WSJ. “Labor market conditions are still what they were prior to Omicron: Strong demand for labor and supply that is going to come back gradually.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy added 467,000 jobs in January as the nation faced large numbers of COVID-19 cases with the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant. January’s jobs figure came in well above experts’ estimated 150,000 increase.
Unemployment in January increased to 4.0%, with the number of unemployed Americans surging to 6.5 million. Economists surveyed by the WSJ projected unemployment would fall to 3.9%.
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