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U.S. weekly jobless claims less than expected as labor market returns to pre-pandemic self


The Labor Department reports that initial claims for unemployment insurance increased last week, but they remained at levels comparable to how the U.S. job market was before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 222,000 first-time filings in the week ending Nov. 27, were lower than Wall Street’s 240,000 expectations. Although this was greater than the 194,000 for the previous week it was less than Wall Street’s expectations of 240,000, that number was even lower since 1969.

Although the totals were subject to heavy seasonal adjustments (211,896 in unadjusted numbers), they are still significant.

This report is released amid signs that the labor market has become more tight. Workers are leaving to find new positions at the highest levels and hiring continues at an accelerated pace.

In addition to the improved outlook on initial claims, continued claims dropped by 107,000. They are currently below 2 million for only the second time since the beginning of the pandemic. Continued claims fell by 107,000 last week, a week after the headline figure. They were at 1.96million as of March 14, 2020.

According to unadjusted data, Virginia and Texas saw more than 15,000 less claims for each week.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ closely-watched nonfarm payrolls counts are out tomorrow. Thursday’s report is a day ahead.

The November job tally should show an additional 573,000 jobs, after the October gain of 531,000. Expect the unemployment rate to fall to 4.5%.