Unemployment Aid Filings in the United States Have Reached a New Pandemic Low.
According to official data released Thursday, fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week than at any other time since the outbreak, indicating that the labor market is recovering from the slowdown.
In the week ending October 23, the Labor Department reported 281,000 new seasonally adjusted unemployment benefit claims, 10,000 lower than the previous week’s upwardly revised number and fewer than analysts had predicted.
Since Covid-19 broke out in March 2020, causing weekly claims to rise into the millions before retreating but remaining high for the remainder of the year, the carefully monitored measure of labor market health has declined for the fourth week in a row, and the third time it has established a new low.
The data “confirms that a strong decreasing trend has reemerged,” according to Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics, who expected that infection rates from the Delta form of Covid-19 would continue to decline.
“As the economy recovers post-Delta, the bar for layoffs will raise even higher, and claims will fall to, if not past, the pre-pandemic lows, and payroll growth will re-accelerate,” he said.
More than 2.8 million people were seeking unemployment benefits under all programs as of October 9, the most recent week for which data was available, down about 450,000 from the week before after the government’s pandemic unemployment programs were cut off in September.
Another 2,532 claims were made last week under the expiring Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, not seasonally adjusted, most likely as a result of states processing backlogged applications. That wasn’t much different than the week before.