The number of new applications for unemployment benefits fell 36,000 last week to 293,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. FILE- In this July 17, 2018, file photo, a sign outside a business in Salem, N.H. says "Now Hiring." On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the Labor Department reports on job openings and labor turnover for August. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
Jobless claims fall to post-pandemic low of 293,000
Zachary Halaschak October 14, 08:32 AM October 14, 09:25 AM
The number of new applications for unemployment benefits fell 36,000 last week to 293,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The unexpectedly large drop brought jobless claims to a new post-pandemic low, a good sign for the economic recovery.
“We’re seeing fresh and welcome signs of improvement in the job market,” said Mark Hamrick, a Bankrate senior economic analyst. “New jobless claims have dropped more than expected, eclipsing the previous pandemic era low notched in early September. Smashing beneath the 300,000 barrier, this is the first time seeing an initial claims number in the 200,000 range since before the pandemic began early last year.”
Thursday’s news follows a September jobs report, released last week, that fell short of expectations with just 194,000 new jobs.
The Thursday report on people applying for unemployment also followed this week’s news that the number of people quitting their jobs is at an all-time high.
About 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in August, a figure that is up from 4 million in July. The number of people quitting is the highest since the United States began keeping records of the statistic about two decades ago and is equivalent to about 3% of the country’s workforce.
The U.S. economy is also ensnarled in major supply-chain issues. Ports are backlogged, and some customers have been waiting long periods of time to receive the goods they ordered. Concerns about supply-chain problems are compounded by the approaching holiday season, which will feature elevated shipping demands.
The White House held a meeting Wednesday with several representatives from the country’s largest shipping unions, officials from major corporations, and port envoys to confer on how to best alleviate the supply snarls. The White House also announced that the Port of Los Angeles, facing major obstacles, will begin operating on a 24/7 basis.
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