New jobless claims fell to their lowest level during the pandemic last week, adding to a slew of promising developments for the long-struggling labor market, which is staging an encouraging comeback as the recent wave of Covid-19 infections eases.
About 267,000 people filed initial jobless claims in the week ending November 6, down 4,000 from the previous week and the lowest level since March 14, 2020, according to the weekly data released Wednesday.
Despite the decline, the figures failed to meet economist expectations calling for about 260,000 new claims last week, according to Bloomberg data.
Continuing claims, a measure of the total number of individuals receiving benefits through all programs, also hit a post-Covid low, falling 107,000 from the previous week to about 2.6 million.
In the comparable week last year, there were a staggering 21.7 million unemployment claims filed as a wave of new Covid-19 infections swept through the nation ahead of the holidays.
In a statement, President Joe Biden touted the six consecutive weekly declines in new unemployment claims, but pointed to a separate inflation report Wednesday morning, which showed consumer prices rising at the highest pace in 31 years, as evidence there’s “more work to do before our economy is back to normal.”