Jobless claims jump, hitting highest level since mid-August

  • First-time filings for jobless claims last week hit 898,000, above the Wall Street estimate of 830,000.
  • That was the highest level since Aug. 22 and a sign of the ongoing struggles in the labor market.
  • Continuing claims again fell sharply, dropping to just over 10 million

American workers continued to hit the unemployment line in large numbers last week, with 898,000 new claims filed for jobless benefits.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 830,000.

The total for the week ended Oct. 10 was the highest number since Aug. 22 and another sign that the labor market continues to struggle to get back to its pre-coronavirus pandemic mark. The number represented a gain of 53,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised total of 845,000.

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Despite the higher than expected total, the level of continuing claims continues to fall at a brisk pace, declining by 1.165 million to just over 10 million. Continuing claims data runs a week behind the headline claims number.

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Since then, the economy has recaptured some 11.4 million positions, or about half those who were sidelined. The unemployment rate has come down to 7.9% but is still more than double its pre-pandemic level.

The insured unemployment rate, a simple measure that compares those receiving benefits against the total labor force, slid 0.9 percentage points to 6.8%.

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