July 1 (UPI) -- Far fewer than 400,000 Americans have filed for new unemployment claims -- the fewest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Labor Department said in its weekly report Thursday.
The department said total initial claims for last week were 364,000, a decrease of 51,000 claims. That's the fewest claims since the middle of March 2020, before the economic impact of the pandemic arrived.
Most experts predicted there would be about 390,000 new claims.
The department also revised up the previous week's claims by 4,000. The new four-week average is about 393,000.
The unemployment rate for last week was 2.5%.
There were 3.47 million continuing claims last week, which lag initial claims by a week.
Thursday's report came one day before the department releases its jobs report for June. Wednesday, ADP and Moody's Analytics said almost 700,000 private-sector jobs were added last month.