Nationally, last week only 281,000 unemployment insurance claims were filed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
In the week ending October 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was2 81,000, a decrease of 10,000 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 1,000 from 290,000 to 291,000. The 4-week moving average was 299,250, a decrease of 20,750 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 250 from 319,750 to 320,000.
The extraordinary federal UI benefits provided during the height of the pandemic ended weeks ago.
The Associated Press reports,
By last month, the economy had reclaimed more than 17 million of the lost jobs. But that was still 5 million short of where the labor market stood in February 2020.
And hiring slowed sharply last month — to just 194,000 new jobs after averaging a 607,000 a month the first eight months of the year. That is partly because companies can’t find enough people to fill their job openings — 10.4 million in August, second-highest in records going back to 2000.
Jobless claims “continue to trend lower, gradually moving closer to levels prevailing prior to the recession,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a research report. “Businesses are holding on to workers amid reports of severe labor shortages.″
Still need more people to return to the workforce.