Nationally, initial unemployment benefits claims last week fell 14,000 from previous week.

Another weekly decline in UI claims, according to today’s release from the U. S. Department of Labor.

In the week ending October 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 269,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 281,000 to 283,000. The 4-week moving average was 284,750, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 299,250 to 299,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.6 percent for the week ending October 23, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 23 was 2,105,000, a decrease of 134,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since March 14, 2020 when it was 1,770,000.

More in the release. The Associated Press report suggest more improvement in the labor market may be ahead.

The U.S. will release monthly jobless claims Friday and economists … believe employers added 400,000 jobs in October, more than twice the jobs added in September.

“Claims are headed in the right direction, showing the labor market recovery continues, albeit slowly,” wrote economists with Contingent Macro Research on Thursday. “Moreover, some state-level volatility appears to be easing, and seasonal adjustments were minor and should remain so for the next few weeks.”

The AP notes consumers remain flush and willing to spend, adding pressure to the labor shortage challenges.

A different AP story examines one cause of the labor shortage, a reluctance of many women to return to their previous full-time jobs.

The pandemic has both laid bare the disproportionate burdens many women shoulder in caring for children or aging parents and highlighted the vital roles they have long played in America’s labor force. The United States bled tens of millions of jobs when states began shuttering huge swaths of the economy after COVID-19 erupted. But as the economy has swiftly rebounded and employers have posted record-high job openings, many women have delayed a return to the workplace, willingly or otherwise.

Even with children back in school, the influx of women into the job market that most analysts had expected has yet to materialize. The number of women either working or looking for work actually fell in September from August. For men, the number rose.

For parents of young children, the male-female disparities are stark. Among mothers of children 13 or younger, the proportion who were employed in September was nearly 4% below pre-pandemic levels, according to Nick Bunker, director of economic research at the Indeed job listings website. For fathers with young children, the decline was just 1%.

We recommend the thoughtful article. One more excerpt:

A new report, “Women in the Workplace,” by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. illustrates how the pandemic imposed an especially heavy toll on working women. It found that one in three women over the past year had thought about leaving their jobs or “downshifting” their careers. Early in the pandemic, by contrast, the study’s authors said, just one in four women had considered leaving.

“Women are even more burned out now than they were a year ago,” the report said, “and the gap in burnout between women and men has nearly doubled”: Forty-two percent of women said they felt burnt out this year, compared with 32% who said so in 2020. By contrast, a smaller proportion of men — 35% — felt burnt out this year, compared with 28% in 2020.

The challenge seems likely to persist under current conditions.