New filings for jobless claims declined for the fifth consecutive month as labor shortages kept layoffs low. At the current pace, new jobless claims could reach their pre-pandemic level by the end of the year.
Initial jobless claims declined to 269,000, only 57,000 higher than the pre-pandemic figure of 212,000 in March 2020.
Initial jobless claims declined to 269,000 for the week ending Oct. 30, following an upwardly revised 283,000 in the previous week, according to government data released Thursday.
The most recent number, a pandemic low, was only 57,000 higher than the pre-pandemic figure of 212,000 in March 2020.
Such improvement in new claims—a proxy for layoffs—continued to signal a rebound of the labor market in October after the delta variant’s surge in the third quarter.
This also gives the market more confidence to expect a better employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will be released on Friday.
Our preferred measure for new claims, the 13-week moving average, declined to 327,000 from 336,000 in the previous week.
Also in the report, the total number of jobless claims for all programs decreased to 2.67 million for the week ending Oct. 16, down from 2.8 million in the previous week and from 22 million a year ago.
Out of that total, claims for regular state unemployment benefits posted the largest decrease of 180,480. This suggests that more workers who had previously been unemployed might return to work as wages and benefits increase.
Interestingly, existing claims for both the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the extended unemployment benefits program increased in the same week, most likely because of the backlog of claims that had not been resolved previously.
On the state level, the largest increases in new claims were from the District of Columbia (up by 3,875) and Kentucky (up by 2,940). California reported the largest decrease (down by 13,138), followed by Georgia (down by 4,107).