Edging closer to pre-pandemic levels, unemployment claims dropped for the sixth consecutive week and have remained below 300,000 filings for five consecutive reporting periods. Initial claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 267,000 in the week-ending November 6, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor. That was a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 271,000 and the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when there were 256,000 claims filed. However, the recent figure was slightly higher than the 260,000 initial claims economists were projecting. Although hitting a new low, the most recent level of new claims remains above the average weekly pace prior to the pandemic in 2019, when initial weekly claims averaged 218,000. Since the onset of the pandemic, more than 91 million initial unemployment insurance claims have been filed in the U.S.