First-time unemployment insurance registrations hit a new pandemic-era low last week, a sign that the job market is improving towards the fall.
Unemployment claims for the week ending August 14 were 348,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was well below the Dow Jones estimate of 365,000 and a drop of 29,000 from the previous week.
The last time the demands were this low was March 14, 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic statement hit and catapulted the US economy into its deepest but shortest recession in history.
In the weeks that followed, more than 22 million Americans would be sent out of work, sending the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.8%. The labor market has been on a steady recovery path since then, but remains a long way from where it was before the pandemic.
Stock market futures were off their lows after the news, but contracts pegged to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down nearly 300 points.
Current receivables also fell, dropping to 2.82 million from a decrease of 79,000 from the previous week. That data is a week behind the claims headline and also represents a new low since the pandemic broke out.
The total number of beneficiaries across all programs decreased to 11.74 million, a decrease of 311,787 for the week ended July 31, and mainly due to a sharp drop in beneficiaries that will fully expire in September. A year ago the total of all programs was 28.7 million.
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