N.D. – New weekly unemployment claims in North Dakota declined last week compared with the week prior, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.
New claims, which are usually an indicator of layoffs, dropped to 748 in the week ending May 8, down from 770 the week before, the labor department said.
There were 2,753 new claims in North Dakota at the same time last year, when claims were at some of their highest levels in the pandemic in the weeks following mandatory business closures under state orders.
U.S. unemployment claims dropped to 473,000 last week, down 34,000 claims from 507,000 the week prior on a seasonally adjusted basis.
That’s the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when there were 256,000 new claims. That was before COVID-19 cases skyrocketed and led to business closures and layoffs across the country.
Even as more and more Americans are vaccinated and businesses reopen, the labor market struggles to return to normal. New claims are still about twice as high as they were in the months leading up to the pandemic. And employers added a disappointing 266,000 jobs in April, a gain that fell well short of expectations.
Still, new claims have fallen significantly since peaking in early April last year at more than 6 million claims on a seasonally adjusted basis. Economists expect claims will continue to fall as businesses reopen and are less constrained by restrictions.
“We expect layoffs to ease further as the economy moves closer toward normal capacity,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said in an email.
New Hampshire saw the largest percentage increase in weekly claims, with claims jumping by 145.3%.Vermont, meanwhile, saw the largest percentage drop in new claims, with claims dropping by 92%.