Initial jobless claims in the United States last week fell to 269,000

Initial jobless claims in the United States last week fell to 269,000 amid continued labor shortage, hitting a fresh low in the pandemic era, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday.

In the week ending Oct. 30, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped by 14,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised level of 283,000, according to a report released by the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The latest figure was the lowest since March 14, 2020, when it was 256,000, the report noted.

The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, decreased by 15,000 to 284,750, according to the report.

In recent months, initial jobless claims hit fresh lows in the pandemic era on multiple occasions, but the declining trend was repeatedly reversed, indicating a bumpy economic recovery. The figure rose for three weeks in a row in September amid surging Delta variant cases.

The latest jobless claims report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending Oct. 23 decreased by 134,000 to 2.1 million. That number peaked in April and May last year, when it was over 20 million.

The continued decline in initial jobless filings came as companies were struggling to hire more workers and avoid layoffs amid continued labor shortage, and federal unemployment benefits for over 10 million people expired in early September.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs — state and federal combined — for the week ending Oct. 16 fell by 157,731 to 2.67 million.

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