April 29 (UPI) -- Fewer Americans hit the unemployment line last week as jobless claims fell by 13,000 compared to the previous week -- the lowest level since the pandemic began in early 2020, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Unemployment claims totaled 553,000 for the week ending Saturday. That figure was below the 600,00 mark for the third straight week. The Labor Department revised the previous week's figure to 566,000.
The four-week moving average was 611,750, a decrease of 44,000 from the previous week's revised average. This is the lowest level for the moving average since March 14, 2020, when it was 225,500.
The weekly claims are still higher than the about 200,000 submitted in the months prior to the pandemic.
There were about 3.6 million continuing claims for the week ending on April 17. The insured unemployment rate was around 2.6 percent, the Labor Department said.
Last week's jobless claims were above the Dow Jones estimate of 528,000, CNBC reported.
The national unemployment rate has dropped to 6%, but still above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5% in February 2020. About 8.4 million Americans hold fewer hold jobs now than before COVID-19.
About 16.5 million Americans are still receiving benefits under various programs, the report said.