An indication that the labor market is continuing to move closer to a recovery, unemployment claims dropped for the fifth consecutive week and fell to another pandemic-era low. Initial claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 269,000 in the week-ending October 30, according to the most recent data release from the U.S. Department of Labor. That was a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 283,000 and the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when there were 256,000 claims filed. In addition, the recent drop is lower than the 275,000 initial claims economists were projecting. While hitting a new low, however, 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, nearly 90.8 million initial unemployment insurance claims have been filed in the U.S.