May 6 (UPI) -- Another 500,000 workers in the United States have filed new unemployment claims, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday -- a decline of almost 100,000 from the previous week.
The department said the number of new claims last week was roughly 498,000. Most experts had expected about 530,000 new claims.
The new claims last week were the lowest for any week since the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ago, when weekly claims were around 250,000.
The department said the national unemployment rate for last week was unchanged at 2.6%.
There are about 3.7 million continuing claims, which lag initial claims by a week.
Thursday's report came one day before the department issues its April jobs report, which is expected to show a gain of about 1 million new jobs for the month.
Wednesday, ADP and Moody's Analytics reported that 742,000 jobs were added to private payrolls last month.