U.S. Unemployment Claims Hit a New Pandemic-Era Low

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Unemployment claims dropped for the fourth consecutive week and are now at a new pandemic-era low. Initial claims totaled a seasonally adjusted 281,000 in the week-ending October 23, according to the most recent data release from the U.S. Department of Labor. That was a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 291,000 and the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when there were 256,000 claims filed. This drop goes against economists’ projections that initial claims would hover at the same pace as the previous week, at about 290,000 claims. 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 90.5 million initial unemployment insurance claims have been filed in the U.S.