NATIONAL NEWS

U.S. jobless claims drop seventh straight week to 268,000

Nov 18, 2021, 7:39 AM

A "We're Hiring" sign hangs near the entrance to a CVS store on Nov. 5, 2021, in Miami Beach, Flori...

A "We're Hiring" sign hangs near the entrance to a CVS store on Nov. 5, 2021, in Miami Beach, Florida. The Labor Department reported today that the U.S. job market in October showed that non-farm payrolls rose more than expected and that the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the seventh straight week to a pandemic low of 268,000.

U.S. jobless claims dipped by 1,000 last week from the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The applications for unemployment aid are a proxy for layoffs, and their steady decline this year — after topping 900,000 one week in early January — reflects the labor market’s strong recovery from last year’s brief but intense coronavirus recession. The four-week average of claims, which smooths week-to-week volatility, also fell to a pandemic low just below 273,000.

Jobless claims have been edging lower, toward their prepandemic level of around 220,000 a week.

Overall, 2.1 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment checks the week that ended Nov. 6, down by 129,000 from the week before.

Until Sept. 6, the federal government had supplemented state unemployment insurance programs by paying an extra payment of $300 a week and extending benefits to gig workers and to those who were out of work for six months or more. Including the federal programs, the number of Americans receiving some form of jobless aid peaked at more than 33 million in June last year.

The coronavirus slammed the U.S. economy early last year, forcing many businesses to close or reduce hours of operation and keeping many Americans shut in at home as a health precaution. In March and April 2020, employers slashed more than 22 million jobs.

But the economy began to recover last summer. Consumers, pocketing government relief checks and gaining confidence as COVID-19 cases fell, resumed spending. With the rollout of vaccines this year, they began to return to shops, restaurants and bars.

Suddenly, many employers were struggling to keep up with an unexpected surge in demand. They are scrambling to fill job openings — a near-record 10.4 million in September. Workers, finding themselves with bargaining clout for the first time in decades, are becoming choosy about jobs; a record 4.4 million quit in September, a sign they have confidence in their ability to find something better.

Unemployment claims “have been declining on a sustained basis and are moving closer to pre-pandemic levels,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “Layoffs are falling, reflective of companies holding on to workers amid a labor shortage.”

Since April 2020, employers have hired more than 18 million people, including 531,000 in October. But the U.S. economy is still more than 4 million jobs short of where it was in February last year.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Hilton Crawford in 1995....

Ben Kuebrich, KSL Podcasts

‘Ransom: Position of Trust’: Uncle Hilty

Episode three of the true-crime podcast "Ransom: Position of Trust" focuses on the suspect Hilton Crawford.

2 hours ago

Couple stands among children **This image is for use with this specific article only**...

CNN

American missionary couple killed by gang in Haiti, family says

A married couple from the US who were serving as missionaries in Haiti were killed there on Thursday, family members said.

2 hours ago

A still from "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story" by Ian Bonhãte and Peter Ettedgui, an offici...

KSL TV

Sundance film ‘Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story’ gets U.S. theatrical release

Sundance film "Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story" will get a special-even theatrical release in the U.S.

3 hours ago

An iPhone is taped to the back of a toilet seat on an American Airlines flight from Charlotte, N.C....

Associated Press

American Airlines retreats after blaming a 9-year-old for not seeing a hidden camera in a lavatory

American Airlines is walking back a court filing in which it seemed to blame a 9-year-old girl for not noticing a camera phone in a lavatory.

3 hours ago

FILE: Documentary Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock of 'Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!' attends The IMDb St...

Mark Kennedy, AP Entertainment Writer

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who skewered fast food industry, dies at 53

Documentarian Morgan Spurlock, who famously ate only at McDonald’s for a month in 'Super Size Me,' dies of cancer at 53.

4 hours ago

Public hearings in the case South Africa v. Israel. (Courtesy of the International Court of Justice...

Mike Corder

Top UN court orders Israel to halt military operation in Rafah; Israel is unlikely to comply

The top United Nations court has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah — but stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

U.S. jobless claims drop seventh straight week to 268,000