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Long Island weekly jobless claims steady; increases seen elsewhere

People are reflected in the window of a

People are reflected in the window of a closed store in Riverhead. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

The number of Long Islanders applying for unemployment benefits last week inched downward while the nation as a whole saw an overall increase, state and national data show.

Last week, 6,253 Islanders filed for unemployment, a drop of less than 3% from the 6,423 who applied the week before, state Labor Department data released Thursday show.

The Island reported 1,501 jobless claims during the same week last year.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to 770,000 from 725,000 the week before, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.

The numbers have dropped sharply since the depths of the recession last spring but still show that employers in some industries continue to lay off workers. Before the pandemic, applications for unemployment aid had never topped 700,000 in any one week.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly variations, dropped to 746,000, the lowest since late November.

A total of 4.1 million Americans continue to collect traditional unemployment benefits, down 18,000 from the previous week. Including separate federal programs that are intended to help workers displaced by the health crisis, 18.2 million Americans were receiving some form of jobless aid in the week of Feb. 27, down by 1.9 million from the week before.

The continuing layoffs are occurring even as the overall job market has shown solid improvement. Last month, U.S. employers added a robust 379,000 jobs, the most since October and a sign that the economy is strengthening.

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