The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to 547,000, the lowest number since the beginning of the pandemic, reported the Associated Press.
The record drop is considered a sign that layoffs are on the wane and the job market is beginning to heat up.
The Department of Labor stated on Thursday that unemployment applications have decreased by nearly 40,000 from the previous week. In early January, 900,000 Americans were applying per week for unemployment aid.
Approximately 17.4 million Americans were on benefits, up slightly from the previous week’s 16.9 million. The rise was credited to increases in California and Texas, potentially due to application backlogs catching up.
Overall, the number of people on unemployment benefits has declined sharply by 2.3 million from early March, a sign that increased hiring is occurring.
The job market is beginning to return to normalcy, with 916,000 new jobs added in March, the highest gain since August. The unemployment rate also fell from 6.2 percent to 6 percent. During the height of the pandemic in the US, the rate was close to 15 percent.