Jobless Insurance Claims Finally Fall To Pandemic Low

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For the first time since May 2020, the advance figure for seasonally-adjusted initial jobless claim was at its lowest level, coming in at 348,000. The figure represents a decrease of 29,000 from last week’s revised level. This new pandemic-era low is the first time since COVID-19 that unemployment claims have fallen below a high level.

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This figure was also well below the Dow Jones estimate of 365,000 jobless claims, CNBC adds.

One of the more assuring statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the total number of those collecting unemployment benefits under all available programs fell to 11.74 million, down 311,787. A major decline in the number of recipients to enhanced federal unemployment benefits from stimulus money contributed to the diminishing numbers. While more than half of states were divided about ending federal unemployment supplements earlier this year, the full federal program is slated to end in September. Just 12 months ago, the total number of people under all unemployment benefit programs was 28.7 million.

This decline comes after controversy over the last few months where governors throughout the country claimed that federal unemployment supplements were driving a tight labor market and unprecedented worker shortage, keeping a lid on a full rebound. For one of the few times in the historical data, there were more open positions available than there were willing workers to fill them. The federal government largely claimed that a lack of childcare and persistent virus fears and low vaccination rates were to blame for people not getting back to work. Last week’s data challenges this, as the largest contributor to the falloff of unemployment insurance claims came from a decline in the federal enhanced benefits.

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The drop-off in jobless claims and unemployment insurance recipients signals a positive trajectory for the economic recovery, but one that is still not up to pre-pandemic speed.

Last month’s jobs report added 943,000 new jobs to the economy as the unemployment rate decreased, suggesting that vacancies are slowly being fulfilled. September’s job report for August’s data will show more clearly whether or not the positions that needed to be filled were truly taken or not.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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