Claims for jobless benefits continued to signal a steady bounce back of the labor market as new filings declined to a pandemic low of 267,000 for the week ending Nov. 6.
That was 4,000 fewer claims compared to the previous week and was the sixth consecutive weekly drop, according to data on Wednesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As labor shortages remained a challenge for businesses, there were fewer incentives to let workers go, while labor headwinds like the delta variant’s surge were in the rearview mirror.
At the same time, demand for labor remained high, offering more opportunities for unemployed workers to find new jobs.
We expect initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, to continue to decline in the coming months as economic activities recover.
New filings for jobless claims were only 55,000 away from the pre-pandemic level of 212,000 in March 2020. Our preferred measure, the 13-week moving average for new claims, declined to 319,000 from 327,000 in the previous week.
The total number of claims for all programs for the week ending Oct. 23 was 2.57 million, down by 107,095 from the prior week. This number was 21.7 million one year ago.
On the state level, the largest increase in new claims for the week ending Oct. 30 was from Kentucky (up by 2,882), while the largest decreases were from Missouri (down by 3,014) and Florida (down by 2,286).