WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to 498,000, the lowest point since the viral pandemic struck 14 months ago.
The figure is a sign of the job market’s growing strength as businesses reopen and consumers step up spending.
Applications declined 92,000 from a revised 590,000 a week earlier.
The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has declined significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January as employers have ramped up hiring.
The pace of applications is still well above the roughly 230,000 level that prevailed before the viral outbreak tore through the economy in March of last year.