Monday, October 25, 2021

US jobless claims fall to 326,000, first drop in four weeks

WASHINGTON – The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week, another sign that the US job market and economy is continuing its steady recovery from last year’s coronavirus slowdown.

The Labor Department said Thursday that unemployment claims fell from 38,000 to 326,000, the first drop in four weeks. Weekly applications, a proxy for layoffs, had fallen more or less consistently throughout the year, since surpassing 900,000 in early January. Still, they remain higher than pre-pandemic levels: before COVID-19 hit the US economy in March 2020, weekly claims were steadily coming in at around 220,000.

After hitting a pandemic low of 312,000 in early September, claims had risen for three weeks in a row, suggesting the highly contagious delta variant was impeding job recovery, at least temporarily.

Contingent Macro Advisors said the recent uptick was also partly due to backlogs in processing orders in California and other states. Shutting down at auto plants due to a lack of computer chips could cause numbers to fluctuate over the next few weeks, Accidental said, but “the trend continues to reduce unemployment claims.”

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