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New Pandemic Low For Jobless Claims Beats Forecasts

New jobless claims dropped to a new pandemic-era low, coming in at 348,000 for the week ending Aug. 14, a drop of 29,000 from the previous report, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Thursday (Aug. 19).

This is the lowest level since March 14, 2020’s pre-pandemic number of 256,000, before COVID-19 took hold and unemployment numbers started escalating to historic heights. 

See also: Historic Unemployment Numbers Collide With Record Demand For Workers

For the week ending Aug. 7, insured unemployment was about 2.8 million, down 79,000 from the previous week and the lowest number since the pre-pandemic figure in March 2020 of roughly 1.8 million.

Continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending July 31 was 11.7 million, down 311,787 from the previous week. Compared to the same time period last year, there were 28.7 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs.

Read more: Report: Nearly Half Of SMBs Need More Employees

Extended benefits for the ending July 31 were available in Alaska, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Texas. 

States that dropped the most in claims — Michigan, New York, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Florida, and Pennsylvania — indicated that the reasons largely had to do with a decrease in layoffs in industries like food services, retail, automotive, transportation, warehousing, healthcare and social assistance, according to the report.

Related: Data: About Half Of Restaurants Operating With 20 Pct Less Staff

Overall, new jobless claims since the start of the year are down over 50 percent, The Wall Street Journal reported, despite the increases of the Delta variant wreaking havoc across the country and around the world. 

Some 943,000 jobs were added last month, the most since September 2020, which is running parallel with a historic number of new job openings.

Also read: COVID Concerns Trigger 1.1 Pct Slump In July Retail Sales Amid Swirl Of Conflicting Factors

“The data we’re seeing shows that while certain consumer areas may be starting to cool, activity does remain solid and labor demand remain extremely strong,” Morgan Stanley Senior U.S. Economist Robert Rosener said, per WSJ. 

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