The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits came in below expectations last week. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims totaling 547,000 for the week ending April 17. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected jobless claims to total 603,000. This figure is a massive decrease from last week's value of 576,000 and the lowest value since the pandemic decimated the US economy.

Continuing claims, the number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks, fell 34,000 to 3.67 million. Markets were relatively flat following the news.

“This dip in jobless claims looks good in isolation but what really matters is that it confirms that last week’s unexpected plunge was no fluke,” wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “We expect further declines over the next few months as the reopening continues, while payroll growth will accelerate markedly.”

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