Fresh Low for U.S. Jobless Claims

U.S. jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low last week, suggesting the labor market continues to heal even as the Delta variant causes uncertainty. First-time applications for benefits, a proxy for layoffs, fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348000 in the week ended Aug. 14, the Labour Department said. That was the lowest level of claims since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. in March 2020. New jobless claims have fallen for four straight weeks and are down more than 50 % since January. Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations have increased in recent weeks. But while that might cause the pace of growth to ease, some economists say the dynamic between Covid-19 and economic activity has evolved over the past year. With demand for workers strong, a rise in cases might not lead to a rise in layoffs, Bryan Mena reports.
Graphics courtesy by the Wall Street Journal
Continuing claims for regular state programmes, a proxy for the number of people receiving benefits, fell to a seasonally adjusted 2.8 million for the week ended Aug. 7. That was also the lowest since March 2020. The latest claims numbers are consistent with other data showing a strong labor market. Employers added 943000 jobs in July, the best gain in 11 months, and job openings reached a record level at the end of June.