The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits came in above expectations last week. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims totaling 553,000 for the week ending April 17. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected jobless claims to total 540,000. This figure is a slight increase from last week's value of 547,000, but is still relatively low compared to numbers early in the pandemic.
Continuing claims, the number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits for consecutive weeks, fell to 3.66 million.
"A growing number of employers report struggling to find qualified workers, particularly for entry level or lower wage positions," Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said in an email. "The hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector, including bars and restaurants, appears to be ground zero for this challenge."