The latest numbers on U.S. unemployment beat out expectations, alleviating concerns that hiring might lag behind the overall economic recovery. Thursday’s data, published by the Department of Labor, shows joblessness claims spending a second week below the record unemployment claims of the Great Recession.

In total, the Department of Labor logged 547,000 new jobless claims, 63,000 less than the consensus estimate found by Bloomberg. That’s 41,000 less than the week prior.

The latest data on ongoing jobless claims ends on April 3 and shows them at 3.674 million, 24,000 more than expected for that period. The week before saw 3.708 million ongoing claims.

It’s not yet known what more up-to-date numbers look like for ongoing claims, but the slight rise of early April shows that the good news has some grey areas. The reluctance of some workforces to return during the pandemic and doubts of employers about ongoing demand afterward has some experts worried that the economy won’t see stable growth across the board for some time.

“They’re very happy to see this surge as everything reopens, but they still have tremendous uncertainty over what their revenue stream is going to look like,” Steven Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard, told The Wall Street Journal.

Several states reported unemployment rates well above the national average. Tourism-reliant Nevada led the pack with 5.6% unemployment, double the average of 2.8%. Connecticut and Alaska followed at 5.2% and 5.1% respectively.

“Over the next few months you could see really strong demand, and you could get some of these pressures…in terms of wages, etc.,” said Jay Bryson, chief economist at Wells Fargo’s Corporate and Investment Bank. “Our sense is it’s not like this is an upward spiral that’s going to last for years.”

US President Joe Biden is expected to raise climate ambitions with an Earth Day summit
US President Joe Biden is expected to raise climate ambitions with an Earth Day summit AFP / Brendan Smialowski

Still, the newest report has many hopeful.

“This is precisely the kind of surprise we like to see, unlike the drumbeat of negative shocks that we experienced a year ago at this time,” Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst for Bankrate, said in a statement. “The total number of individuals receiving some form of unemployment benefit remains historically elevated at 17.4 million. While a number of economic indicators have recently surprised in a positive way, the economy still requires substantial healing.”