U.S. weekly jobless claims lower than anticipated as labor market returns to pre-pandemic self


Initial jobless claims rose last week but remained at levels in line with the state of the job market before the Covid-19 pandemic shattered the U.S. employment picture, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

Initial filings for the week ending November 27 were 222,000, less than Wall Street’s expected 240,000. That was more than the previous week’s 194,000, but that figure, the lowest since 1969, has been revised down even further from the originally reported 199,000.

The totals are the product of large seasonal adjustments, although the unadjusted figure was actually lower at 211,896.

The report comes amid signs of an increasingly tight labor market, with workers leaving their positions for new jobs at its highest levels and new hires continuing to move at a brisk pace.

In addition to the brighter prospects for initial claims, permanent claims fell by a further 107,000 and are now below 2 million for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The last time ongoing claims, which were a week behind the headline, were lower than the current 1.96 million was March 14, 2020.

Virginia and Texas combined have more than 15,000 fewer applications for the week, according to unadjusted data.

Thursday’s report comes a day before the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ closely watched non-farm payroll count.

That number is expected to add 573,000 new jobs in November, up from 531,000 in October. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 4.5%.

Correction: Applications for the previous week were initially reported as 199,000. In an earlier version, the number was incorrectly specified.