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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose slightly last week even while the economy and the job market appear to be rebounding from the coronavirus recession with sustained energy.
Thursday's report from the U.S. Department of Labor showed jobless claims increased by 2,000 from the previous week to 373,000.
Weekly applications, which generally track the pace of layoffs, have fallen steadily this year from more than 900,000 at the start of the year.
The four-week average of applications, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, is now 394,500 — the lowest such level since the pandemic erupted in March of last year.
In Iowa, new claims increased from 1,864 to 2,096, and continuing claims fell from 20,119 to 19,935.
Self-employed and independent contractors were the largest source of claims with 381, followed by manufacturing with 352 and construction with 162. No other industry sector had more than 150 new claims.
Linn County's new claims rose from 171 to 204. Johnson County, on the other hand, had a drop in new claims, from 111 to 80.
Johnson County's 80 new claims last week were the fewest in more than a year.
These numbers are preliminary and are yet to be adjusted by the U.S. Labor Department. They also only include people actively seeking work and unemployment benefits and therefore do not necessarily give a full picture of how many people are out of work.
In the first three months of the year, the government has estimated that the economy expanded at a brisk 6.4 percent annual rate. In the second quarter, the annual rate is thought to have reached a sizzling 10 percent.
And for all of 2021, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that growth will amount to 6.7 percent. That would be the fastest calendar-year expansion since 1984.