U.S. Jobless Claims Hit Pandemic Low

Initial filings for unemployment insurance south of the border fell last week to their lowest levels since March 2020 in another sign that the labour market stateside is gradually improving from the COVID-19 era.

Figures released by the U.S. Labor Department Thursday revealed first-time jobless claims totaled 340,000 for the week ended Aug. 28, compared with the 345,000 Dow Jones estimate, the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020, when first-time claims totaled 256,000, just before the coronavirus pandemic caused a historic rush to unemployment benefits.

The level of initial claims for the week ended Aug. 21 was revised up by 1,000, to 354,000.

As for continuing claims, the measure of ongoing benefits, that number came in at 2.75 million, a decrease of 160,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The decrease in the number of continuing claims also represents the lowest level for insured unemployment since the COVID era began.

The jobless claims data comes one day ahead of the department’s all-important monthly jobs report, a detailed update that the Federal Reserve uses as a gauge on the broader U.S. labour market in setting its monetary policy.

Economists expect that U.S. employers added 720,000 payrolls last month and that the unemployment rate ticked lower to 5.2% from 5.4%.