U.S. Jobless Claims Rise for a Third Straight Week
The Delta variant of COVID-19 has hindered the nation’s employment recovery, as the number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims ticked up for a third consecutive week. Initial unemployment claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose to a seasonally adjusted 362,000 in the week-ending September 25, according to the most recent data release from the U.S. Department of Labor. That was an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 351,000 and well above economist’s expectations of around 330,000 claims. It was also the highest volume of initial claims in seven weeks after increasing from a pandemic-era low earlier in the month. Weekly applications for initial unemployment benefits have been generally trending downward since the start of 2021, after peaking at 904,000 claims in January. That peak, however, was well below 2020’s high point, when weekly unemployment claims reached more than 6.1 million in early April. Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. consistently logged weekly claims below 220,000. Since the onset of the pandemic, nearly 89.3 million Americans have filed initial unemployment insurance claims.