WASHINGTON, Nov 18 (Businesshala) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to near pre-pandemic levels last week as a recovery in the labor market picks up, though labor shortages are accelerating with job gains. obstacle remains.
The state’s initial claims for unemployment benefits fell by 1,000 to 268,000 seasonally adjusted claims for the week ended November 13, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States more than 20 months ago.
Economists polled by Businesshala had estimated 260,000 applications in the latest week.
The seventh consecutive weekly drop in claims has left them slightly above the 256,000 level in mid-March 2020. The claims are now in the range that is associated with a healthy labor market.
They have fallen from a record high of 6.149 million in early April 2020.
The continued improvement is in line with other data that suggested a pick-up in economic activity after a lull in the summer as a wave of coronavirus infections battered the country, driven by a delta variant. The government on Tuesday reported a jump in retail sales in October. Production in factories also jumped sharply last month.
The claims data covers the period during which the government surveyed business establishments for the non-farm payroll component of the November employment report.
Claims have decreased since mid-October, which would suggest strong job growth. But the nearly two-year-long pandemic has created a labor shortage, leaving 10.4 million jobs as of the end of September.
The economy created 531,000 jobs in October. Employment growth this year has averaged 582,000 jobs per month and the labor force is 3 million below its pre-pandemic level. (Reporting by Lucia Muticani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)