The procession of Americans heading to the unemployment line fell last week, with jobless claims totaling a fresh pandemic-era low of 444,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
Economist surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 452,000 new claims as the jobs picture improves thanks to an accelerated economic reopening across the country.
The total represented a decline from the previous week’s 478,000.
For the same period a year ago, claims totaled more than 2.3 million.
While Federal Reserve officials stress the need for more improvement in the jobs picture, the claims numbers suggest that employment is growing consistently. However, continuing claims edged higher, rising to 3.75…