Jobless Claims Finally Fall Below 300,000 for the First Time Since the Start of the Pandemic

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insta_photos / Getty Images/iStockphoto
insta_photos / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Jobless claims fell below 300,000 last week for the first time since the pandemic began. Seasonally adjusted claims came in at 293,000, a decrease of 36,000 from the previous week’s level. According to the Department of Labor, this is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000.

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The Dow Jones estimate for claims was 318,000, CNBC reported. Larger than expected declines signal a possible road to recovery for a labor market that has had volatile swings throughout the past year.

Interestingly, California contributed to the largest decrease in jobless claims, with a decrease of 14,733. In recent preceding weeks, the state had accounted for some of the largest contributions to the overall jobless claims total, but seems to have finally turned a corner. California is on its third round of state stimulus payments, making it the only state nationwide to provide stimulus payments to its own citizens so far.

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The largest increases in claims last week came from Pennsylvania with 1,707. Michigan, Missouri and Texas all offset this number with significant drop-offs in the amount of jobless claims from their states.

Another positive indicator, the four week moving average dropped to 334,250. This represents a 10,500 decline that has also marked the lowest number since March 14, 2020 according to the Department of Labor. The four-week moving average is a commonly used marker for volatility, and the decrease suggests a downward trend.

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The news comes amid conflicted employment reports and persistent upward price pressures. Unemployment is still above pre-pandemic levels, despite business owners claiming they are having difficulty filling positions. Household employment is still 5 million lower than what it was before the pandemic. This week’s drop in claims is welcome, but with high unemployment and high inflation, calling economic liftoff is still premature.

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Last updated: October 14, 2021

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Jobless Claims Finally Fall Below 300,000 for the First Time Since the Start of the Pandemic

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