New claims for jobless benefits in the US have fallen as the world’s largest economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.
A total of 269,000 out-of-work workers filed for unemployment compensation for the week ended October 30, down 14,000 from a week earlier, the agency said. The figure was the lowest since mid-March 2020, when the pandemic first hit the US economy, though still exceeds the pre-coronavirus weekly average of 218,000 in 2019.
Since exceeding 900,000 in early January, weekly applications have generally declined as the job market has improved. During the last week of October, 2.1 million people in the US received unemployment compensation, far less than the 7.1 million in 2020, when the economy grapples with the worst effects of the pandemic.
In March and April of 2020, government-ordered lockdowns and employers cut more than 22 million jobs among consumers and employees staying at home to avoid infection. Of these, about 17 million jobs have been returned.
Government financial relief and vaccine rollouts led to higher consumer spending and business reopenings, leaving companies struggling to meet demand to rehiring workers, especially those in low-wage jobs .
The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal government contractors and businesses with at least 100 employees could exacerbate the labor shortage.
The unemployment report for October is due to be released on Friday.
Some of the information in this report comes from the Associated Press and Reuters.