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the coronavirus crisis

New jobless claims drop sharply, but there could be a 'rebound' next week

The number of Americans filing first-time jobless claims has sharply fallen, remaining historically high but coming in under expectations.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 730,000 Americans filed new jobless claims last week, a decline of 111,000 claims from the revised level of the week before. The previous week's number of claims was revised down by 20,000, the Labor Department said. Economists were expecting about 845,000 jobless claims to be filed last week, CNBC reports.

The drop in jobless claims came as welcome news after a spike last week, even as the latest number still remained higher than the pre-pandemic record of 695,000. At the same time, experts warned of a potential rebound to come, noting recent winter weather could be a factor in the decline.

"The sharp drop in jobless claims likely is due to people in states hit hardest by last week's huge storm, especially Texas, having better things to do than make jobless claims," Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson said, per CNBC. "We expect a rebound next week. The trend seems to be about flat, but we remain of the view that claims will soon start to trend down, slowly at first but then more quickly as the reopening of the economy accelerates in April and May."