US jobless claims plunge to 576,000, lowest since pandemic

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In this photo illustration, a person files an application for unemployment benefits on April 16, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to 576,000, a hopeful sign that layoffs are easing as the economy recovers from the pandemic recession.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications plummeted 193,000 from a revised 769,000 a week earlier. Jobless claims are now down sharply from a peak of 900,000 in early January.

According to the Associated Press, 16.9 million were still collecting benefits for the week ending March 27. Employers also added 916,000 jobs in March.

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