Jobless Claims Hit Another Pandemic Low

While still above pre-pandemic levels, new and continuing claims are on the downturn. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the combined number of previous and new...

While still above pre-pandemic levels, new and continuing claims are on the downturn.

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the combined number of previous and new claims for unemployment benefits numbered over 32 million as workers were displaced by closures and quarantine. While the pandemic is still a very real concern, adaptation to the pandemic lifestyle has allowed many of these businesses to reopen and workers to return or work remotely, though enhanced unemployment benefits have also been ended in multiple states, disincentivizing continued applications. As such, the numbers of initial and continuing claims for unemployment benefits have been on a gradual decline over the course of the year.

According to the latest report from the US Department of Labor, initial claims for unemployment benefits were down to 385,000 in the week ending in July 31, a 14,000 drop from the week prior. Counting continuing claims separately from initial claims, there were only 2.93 million continuing claims, the first time that number has dropped below 3 million since the pandemic began.

Totaling all programs together, there are currently 13 million claims for unemployment benefits, less than half of the pandemic’s peak. While these numbers are still well above the unemployment levels seen prior to the beginning of the pandemic, it is still a positive trend for the US economy.

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