New weekly claims for jobless aid plunged to the lowest level in more than 50 years last week, according to data released Wednesday by the Labor Department.
In the week ending Nov. 20, there were 199,000 initial applications for unemployment insurance, according to the seasonally adjusted figures, a decline of 71,000 from the previous week. Claims fell to the lowest level since November 1969 and are now well below the pre-pandemic trough of 225,000 applications received the week of March 14, 2020.
The steep drop in unemployment applications comes after several strong months of job growth and rising consumer spending heading into the holiday shopping season. While high inflation has stressed many household budgets, U.S. job growth, economic production, stock values and corporate profits have all steamed ahead.
“Getting new claims below the 200,000 level for the first time since the pandemic began is truly significant, portraying further improvement,” said Mark Hamrick, chief economic analyst at Bankrate.com.
“The strains associated with higher prices, shortages of supplies and available job candidates are weighed against low levels of layoffs, wage gains and a falling unemployment rate,” he continued. “Growth will likely be above par for the foreseeable future, but within the context of historically high inflation which should relax its grip on the economy to some degree in the year ahead.”
The U.S. added 531,000 jobs in October and job growth in the previous months was revised substantially higher after a string of what first appeared to be meager gains. While businesses have struggled to hire enough workers to meet surging consumer demand, the decline in jobless claims appears to be a sign of an improving labor market.
"Layoffs are hitting new lows amid ongoing labor shortages as employers look to hold onto hard-to-find workers," said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor, in a Wednesday thread on Twitter.
I was amazed to see that this AM. I truly thought we had a hard floor at about 250K, even with employers unwillling to let employees go in the current environment.
That said, this must be a typo...
Getting new claims below the 200,000 level for the first time since the pandemic began is truly significant, portraying further improvement,” said Mark Hamrick, chief economic analyst at Bankrate.com.
As the headline read, we have not been at this level since 1969, well before the pandemic. :-)
What does that really mean? The true employment number is the number of people employed in the US. Unemployment runs out, doesn't mean they found a job. Why doesn't the government just show us the number of Americans with a job. This should be the stats they share with us every month. But it's too hard to manipulate.
"The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.6 percent in October and has remained within a narrow range of 61.4 percent to 61.7 percent since June 2020. The participation rate is 1.7 percentage points lower than in February 2020. The employment-population ratio, at 58.8 percent, was little changed over the month. This measure is up from its low of 51.3 percent in April 2020 but remains below the figure of 61.1 percent in February 2020"
Participation rate rate is a good number that I watch closely, and we still have about 3.5 million less in the labor force than we had prior to the pandemic.
The U3 number is the number that are actively looking for work. Nearly useless, IMO. U6 is a much better measure, but not the most popular among gov reports.
Weekly claims is simply a measure of how many people filed for unemployement in the last week, often adjusted, sometimes significantly. SO obviously, they don't do a very good job counting them.. But it's the composite of the counts from each state, a few of whom, (who shall remain nameless), are notoriusly bad at counting.
100%. But unemployment applications is grossly misleading and allows any President to stand at the podium and say "look at what I did" when in reality he didn't do anything and way too many people don't know any different.
Wonderful point Jim!
Ahh, Jobless claims are weekly noise. And any president would tout low numbers like these as an accomplishment. But the vast majority of good eco-news is in spite of the president (politicians in general). The best news generally comes when they get the hell out of the way. Take less taxes, get rid of regulations, etc etc.
And then, the good news is the result of the people who actually run the economy being able to do what they do.