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Initial jobless benefit claims rise; overall filings drop to lowest level since 1969

Initial jobless benefit claims rise; overall filings drop to lowest level since 1969
An unemployed water treatment plant electrician visits the California Employment Development Department office in Canoga Park, Calif., on August 6, 2020. Initial unemployment claims last week increased by 21,000 from the week before, according to the Labor Department Wednesday. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 19 (UPI) -- Initial claims for unemployment insurance reached a seasonally adjusted 218,000 last week, marking his highest total in four months, according to a new study by the Labor Department.

But the number of total U.S. residents filing for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest mark since late 1969, the report said.

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"America is back to work," President Joe Biden said in a statement. "The number of Americans who are forced to rely on unemployment insurance programs for their support fell to its lowest level in over 52 years.

"When I took office, there were nearly 20 million Americans on unemployment insurance to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. Today, that number is about 1.3 million. That's millions of families moving from government support to earning a paycheck."

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The new total for first-time filings was an increase of 21,000 from the revised total of 197,000 the week before. The 218,000 filings were the most since the week ending Jan. 22, when 222,000 applied for unemployment insurance for the first time.

The Labor Department said the four-week moving average for first-time filings increased 8,250 to a seasonally adjusted 199,500. The previous week's average was revised down by 1,500 from 192,750 to 191,250.

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The seasonally adjusted total for everyone filing for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 7 was 1.317 million, a decline of 25,000 from the week before. It marked the lowest level for U.S. filing for jobless benefits since Dec. 27, 1969.

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The four-week moving average for overall jobless filings fell 22,500 to 1,362,250, its lowest average since Jan. 24, 1970, when it was 1,361,000.

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