U.S. Jobless Claims Sink to Lowest Level Since 1969

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The U.S. Department of Labor  said jobless claims last week were the lowest they’ve been in 52 years, signalling a reprieve from the economic troubles that the economy has grappled with since the pandemic.

Filings for initial unemployment benefits had dropped by 71,000 to 199,000 last week, a level unseen since Nov. 15, 1969 when the same calculation reached 197,000 in seasonally adjusted data by the agency, according to a Labor Department report released on Wednesday.

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While the week prior’s jobless claims were revised from 268,000 to 270,000, the four-week moving average was 252,250, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week’s revised average, according to the Labor Department, which noted that this is the lowest level for this average since the week of March 14, 2020.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate came in at 1.5 percent for the week ending Nov. 13, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s rate.

The new data comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that up to 531,000 new jobs had been added in October, marking the biggest gain in three months, and had the biggest benefit for workers in restaurants, consulting firms and factories.

The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending Nov. 6 was 2.4 million, a decrease of 752,390 from the previous week, according to the Labor Department. In contrast, there were 21.1 million weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs in the same week in 2020. 

The agency stated that highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending Nov. 6 were in the Virgin Islands with 3 percent; Alaska, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with 2.7 percent; California 2.6 percent; New Jersey at 2.5 percent; Nevada and Hawaii with 2.1 percent; Illinois at 1.9 percent and New York with 1.8 percent.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mahllum@commercialobserver.com.