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US jobless claims plunge to 199,000, lowest in 52 years

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Unemployment Benefits

Holiday hiring sign is displayed at a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill., Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year's coronavirus recession.

Jobless claims dropped by 71,000 to 199,000, the lowest since mid-November 1969. The drop was much bigger than economists expected.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly ups and downs, also dropped — by 21,000 to just over 252,000, the lowest since mid-March 2020 when the pandemic slammed the economy.

Since topping 900,000 in early January, the applications have fallen steadily toward and now fallen below their prepandemic level of around 220,000 a week. Claims for jobless aid are a proxy for layoffs.

Overall, 2 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment checks the week that ended Nov. 13, down slightly from the week before. Read the full story here:

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