U.S. Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Lows

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to mount, but numbers for jobless claims stateside still run downward.

Figures released Thursday by the U.S. Labor Department showed new filings for jobless claims totaled 787,000 last week, the lowest total since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 875,000 for the week ended Oct. 17.

The total reflected a decline of 55,000 from the downwardly revised 842,000 from the previous week. The last time the weekly claims total was lower was the 282,000 on March 14, just before an avalanche of layoffs that occurred in conjunction with efforts to combat the virus.

One reason for the decline in jobless claims has been the migration of workers who have exhausted their regular benefits and have moved to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance emergency compensation program.

That total increased by 509,828 for the week ended Oct. 3 to 3.3 million.

As wellas the substantial drop in the headline number, continuing claims also showed another hefty drop. The level of those getting benefit for at least two weeks dropped by 1.02 million to 8.37 million.