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U.S. Jobless Claims Fall to New Pandemic Low of 290,000

An employee coats bicycle frames with powder paint at a production facility in Manning, South Carolina.
An employee coats bicycle frames with powder paint at a production facility in Manning, South Carolina.Photographer: Micah Green/Bloomberg
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Washington (AP) -- The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to a new low point since the pandemic erupted, evidence that layoffs are declining as companies hold onto workers.

Unemployment claims dropped 6,000 to 290,000 last week, the third straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the fewest people to apply for benefits since March 14, 2020, when the pandemic intensified. Applications for jobless aid, which generally track the pace of layoffs, have fallen steadily from about 900,000 in January.