The Labor Department said on Thursday that jobless claims in the U.S. totaled 3.2 million. The median economic estimate was for 3.05 million claims for the seven days that ended Saturday.
This is the fifth week in a row that claims have declined suggesting the worst shock of the coronavirus pandemic to the labor market is over.
The numbers dwarf the largest week of job losses during the great recession, when 665,000 Americans filed for unemployment insurance.
The previous week’s total was revised up by 7,000.
The four-week moving average, which smooths volatility in the numbers, slid to 4,173,500, a decrease of 861,500 from the previous week’s average and a further indicator that the worst of the jobs news may be over.