U.S. Weekly Jobless Claims Extend Slide To New Pandemic-Era Low

A day ahead of the release of the closely watched monthly jobs report, the Labor Department released a report on Thursday showing another modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended October 30th.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 269,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 283,000.

Economists had expected initial jobless claims to edge down to 277,000 from the 281,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Jobless claims decreased for the fifth straight week, once again falling to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average also fell to a new pandemic-era low of 284,750, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 299,750.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance, also slid by 134,000 to 2.105 million in the week ended October 23rd, hitting their lowest level since March of 2020.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also dropped to a pandemic-era low of 2,356,750, a decrease of 155,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 2,512,250.

“Initial claims remain about 29% above pre-pandemic levels, while continued claims are 23% higher,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics. “We expect both types of claims to continue to gradually decline as the labor market continues to heal.”

On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched report on the employment situation in the month of October.

Employment is expected to jump by 425,000 jobs in October after rising by 194,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate is expected to edge down to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent.

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