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U.S. jobless claims fall to 730,000 – lowest since late November 2020

Unemployment remain at historical highs, but decline is sign U.S. economy slowly emerging from pandemic shutdown

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jobs
A California car wash seeks new hires amid pandemic. Feb.5, 2021.
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Updated: February 25, 2021 - 10:00am

The number of Americans seeking a first-time federal jobless claim last week was 730,000, 111,000 less than in the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The sharp decline is a sign the U.S. economy is improving as more Americans become vaccinated for COVID-19 and virus numbers across the country decline. However, U.S. unemployment remains at historical highs, as the pandemic is now almost 1-year-old and many sectors of the domestic economy remain throttled.

Last week's number was the lowest since late November. However, before the virus erupted in the U.S. last March, weekly applications for unemployment benefits had never exceeded 700,000, even during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, according to the Associated Press.

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