NATIONAL NEWS

US jobless claims plunge to 199,000, lowest in 52 years

Nov 24, 2021, 8:20 AM
A ''Now Hiring" sign hangs above the entrance to a McDonald's restaurant on November 05, 2021 in Mi...
A ''Now Hiring" sign hangs above the entrance to a McDonald's restaurant on November 05, 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 plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year’s coronavirus recession.

Jobless claims dropped by 71,000 to 199,000, the lowest since mid-November 1969. But seasonal adjustments around the Thanksgiving holiday contributed significantly to the bigger-than-expected drop. Unadjusted, claims actually ticked up by more than 18,000 to nearly 259,000.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly ups and downs, also dropped — by 21,000 to just over 252,000, the lowest since mid-March 2020 when the pandemic slammed the economy.

Since topping 900,000 in early January, the applications have fallen steadily toward and now fallen below their prepandemic level of around 220,000 a week. Claims for jobless aid are a proxy for layoffs.

Overall, 2 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment checks the week that ended Nov. 13, down slightly from the week before.

“Overall, expect continued volatility in the headline figures, but the trend remains very slowly lower,” Contingent Macro Advisors wrote in a research note.

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 2020.

The job market has staged a remarkable comeback since the spring of 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close or cut hours and kept many Americans at home as a health precaution. In March and April last year, employers slashed more than 22 million jobs.

But government relief checks, super-low interest rates and the rollout of vaccines combined to give consumers the confidence and financial wherewithal to start spending again. Employers, scrambling to meet an unexpected surge in demand, have made 18 million new hires since April 2020 and are expected to add another 575,000 this month. Still, the United States remains 4 million short of the jobs it had in February 2020.

Companies now complain that they can’t find workers 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 choosier about jobs; a record 4.4 million quit in September, a sign they have confidence in their ability to find something better.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac performs on stage at Madison Square Garden on October 6, 2014 in N...
Associated Press

Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter, dies at 79

Christine McVie, the soulful British musician who sang lead on many of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits, has died at 79.
15 hours ago
rail union picket...
KEVIN FREKING and JOSH FUNK Associated Press

House votes to avert rail strike, impose deal on unions

The U.S. House moved urgently to head off the looming nationwide rail strike on Wednesday, passing a bill that would bind companies and workers to a proposed settlement that was reached in September but rejected by some of the 12 unions involved.
15 hours ago
Firefighters and Riverside Police gather outside a burned home in Riverside, Calif., on Friday, Nov...
AMY TAXIN and STEFANIE DAZIO, Associated Press

Police: Deputy posed as teen online to lure California girl

Authorities are investigating whether a Virginia sheriff’s deputy posed as a 17-year-old boy online to groom and sexually extort a teenage girl in California before driving across country and killing her mother and grandparents and setting fire to their home.
15 hours ago
amazon logo...
HALELUYA HADERO, AP Business Writer

Amazon says it had its biggest Thanksgiving shopping weekend

Amazon said Wednesday the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend was its biggest ever, aided by a record number of shoppers looking for deals amid high inflation.
15 hours ago
Chick-fil-A is selling merchandise for the first-time ever. (CNN)...
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Chick-fil-A is selling merchandise for the first time ever

If your holiday wish list includes a Chick-fil-A sauce-themed blanket or a chicken nugget pillow, look no further.
15 hours ago
Aerial photograph of the dominant fissure 3 erupting on the Northeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa, taken...
Caleb Jones and Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press

Hawaii volcano eruption has some on alert, draws onlookers

The first eruption in 38 years of the world’s largest active volcano is attracting onlookers to a national park for “spectacular” views of the event, and it's also dredging up bad memories among some Hawaii residents.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
US jobless claims plunge to 199,000, lowest in 52 years