For the First Time Since the Pandemic, US Jobless Claims Drop Below 300,000: Govt.
According to federal data released Thursday, new claims for unemployment benefits in the United States fell below 300,000 for the first time since Covid-19 drove them soaring into the millions early last year.
The Labor Department said that 293,000 initial jobless benefit claims were filed in the week ending October 9, down 36,000 from the previous week.
This brought the total to 256,000, which was filed the week of March 14, 2020, right before the epidemic triggered enormous layoffs.
Weekly unemployment claims, a key indicator of labor market health, were high in 2020, but fell significantly this year when Covid-19 vaccinations allowed firms to reopen.
They’ve been fluctuating in recent weeks as the Delta variation has introduced uncertainty into the labor market, but analysts hailed last week’s reduction as evidence of a better labor market.
On Twitter, Daniel Zhao of job search site Glassdoor wrote, “Initial claims are already within striking distance of their pre-pandemic level, which might be reached later this year when the Delta wave recedes and hiring improves.”
Last week, another 21,624 claims were filed under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which was intended to help freelance employees who were not ordinarily eligible for aid but had expired a few weeks previously.
As of the week ended September 25, the most recent week for which statistics was available, more than 3.6 million people were receiving unemployment benefits under all programs.
Another record low was noted in insured unemployment, or the percentage of workers who actually receive benefits, according to the report.
On October 2, there were 2,593,000 persons getting regular payments, down 134,000 from the previous week and the lowest amount since the outbreak began.
According to the data, the insured unemployment rate was 1.9 percent that week, slightly lower than the previous week.