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Unemployment Claims Move Toward Pre-Pandemic Level

Unemployment Claims Move Toward Pre-Pandemic Level

​States reported that 293,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending October 9. New claims are down significantly from earlier this year and are closing in on their 2019 weekly average of just over 200,000.The total number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits fell by 134,000 to 2.5 million, the lowest level since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. By comparison, continuing claims had averaged 1.6 million throughout 2019.The number of job openings in the U.S. has continued to outpace the number of unemployed workers and the overall trending decline in jobless claims is evidence that hiring difficulty has been the bigger drag on the labor market in recent months, rather than layoffs and separations. Job openings were at a near-record high of more than 10.4 million in August, while the labor force participation rate is still below its pre-pandemic level.Meanwhile, U.S. job growth fell to the slowest pace of the year in September, primarily held back by a sharp drop in public-sector employment, mostly teachers. …

September Hiring Comes In Well Under Expectations

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September Hiring Comes In Well Under Expectations

​U.S. employers added a disappointing 194,000 new jobs in September, with hiring in leisure and hospitality leading the way, according to the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent from 5.2 percent in August. Economists had forecast that employers added about 500,000 new jobs last month.The report reflects nine consecutive months of payroll gains, but hiring has fallen sharply in August and September and total employment is still below pre-pandemic levels. Economists believe that the rate of job growth this year would likely have been higher if not for the COVID-19 delta variant slowing hiring activity.Difficulty finding workers to fill open jobs continues to hold back hiring as well. Evidence shows that many employers are increasingly desperate to hire, offering higher pay, signing bonuses and more flexible working hours to attract applicants, a shift in power that has given job seekers the upper hand in the recruitment process. …

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First-Time Jobless Claims Improve

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First-Time Jobless Claims Improve

​States reported that 326,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending October 2, falling by 38,000 from the previous week’s revised level after three weeks of increases. Although new claims are down significantly from this time last year—and have decreased by 50 percent from April 2021—they are still elevated compared to their 2019 weekly average of just over 200,000.The total number of workers continuing to claim state unemployment benefits fell by 97,000 to 2.7 million. The number of job openings in the U.S. has continued to outpace the number of unemployed workers and the overall trending decline in jobless claims is evidence that hiring difficulty has been the bigger drag on the labor market in recent months, rather than layoffs and separations.Meanwhile, the U.S. added 568,000 private-sector jobs in September, according to the ADP National Employment Report, released Wednesday. September employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor will be released Friday. …

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First-Time Jobless Claims Rise Again

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First-Time Jobless Claims Rise Again

​States reported that 362,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending September 25, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s revised level. Although new claims are down significantly from this time last year—and have decreased by 50 percent from April—they are still elevated compared to their 2019 weekly average of just over 200,000.The total number of workers continuing to claim state unemployment benefits fell by 18,000 to 2.8 million. The overall trending decline in jobless claims is evidence that hiring difficulty has been the bigger drag on the labor market in recent months, rather than layoffs and separations.Jobless claims have trended lower since mid-July, despite a rise in COVID-19 cases tied to the spread of the delta variant and weaker-than-expected job growth in August.New claims have risen over the last three weeks in part due to business disruptions caused by Hurricane Ida. Some economists believe that with the current pace of job growth, unemployment claims will reach pre-pandemic levels in mid-2022. …

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First-Time Jobless Claims Tick Up

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First-Time Jobless Claims Tick Up

​States reported that 351,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending September 18, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level. Although new claims are down significantly from this time last year, they are still elevated compared to their 2019 weekly average of just over 200,000.The total number of workers continuing to claim state unemployment benefits rose for the first time in weeks to 2.8 million. The general trending decline in jobless claims however is evidence that hiring difficulty has been the bigger drag on the labor market in recent months, rather than layoffs and separations.Jobless claims have trended lower since mid-July, despite a rise in COVID-19 cases tied to the spread of the delta variant and weaker-than-expected job growth in August.Some economists believe that with the current pace of job growth, unemployment claims will reach pre-pandemic levels in mid-2022. …

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