The number of first-time unemployment-benefits filers fell to the lowest level in the pandemic, declining for a second straight week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial weekly U.S. jobless claims came in at 751,000 for the week ending Oct. 24, down 40,000 from the previous week.
Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial jobless claims to come in at 778,000. It was the lowest initial claims total since the week of March 14, when they came in at 282,000. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected 778,000 new claims for last week.
But with Covid-19 infections rising sharply again, economists voiced concern about the jobs market and economy. Continuing jobless claims, which include those receiving unemployment benefits for at least two straight weeks, dropped by 709,000 to 7.75 million for during the week of Oct. 17.
The Washington Post reports:
The U.S. economy grew at a record 7.4 percent between July and September and has recovered two thirds of the ground it lost during the first half of the year. But economists remain wary, as the figures come just as the country is entering a period of rising coronavirus cases.
The data released Thursday morning by the Bureau of Economic Analysis was in line with expectations and stands in sharp contrast to the historic and devastating second-quarter plunge of 9 percent due to the pandemic closures.
As state shutdown measures eased over the summer and businesses brought people back to work, the economy and consumer spending looked vastly different, and much healthier, than they did between April and June.