US jobless claims slip to 375,000 as economic rebound charges forward
  • US jobless claims slid to 375,000 last week, suggesting rising COVID cases are having little effect on the recovery.
  • The reading matched the median economist estimate and marked a third straight decline.
  • Continuing claims fell to 2.87 million, beating the consensus estimate of 2.9 million.

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Fewer Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, confirming the health of the labor market’s recovery following a stellar jobs report.

US jobless claims totaled an unadjusted 375,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That matched the median estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg and marked a third straight decline for weekly claims.

The previous week’s count was revised to 387,000 from 385,000, according to the report.

Continuing claims, which track Americans receiving unemployment benefits, declined to 2.87 million for the week that ended July 31. That beat the median estimate for 2.9 million continuing claims and set a new pandemic-era low for continuing claims. The number of people on UI started to fall more steadily through June and July as several states began prematurely paring back the federal boost to payments.

Jobless claims have staged a less consistent recovery than continuing. Weekly counts hovered around 400,000 through late June and July after falling steadily through spring. Current levels are still roughly double those seen before the pandemic. Some experts believe elevated claims could be the new normal due to increased awareness of the program.  

The Thursday claims data is the first to follow July’s encouraging nonfarm payrolls report. The US added 943,000 jobs in July, beating the median estimate of 870,000 new jobs and marking the largest one-month increase since last August. June’s gains were revised higher to 938,000 payrolls, and the unemployment rate fell more than expected to 5.4%. The report showed a resilient labor market recovery across the board, but with COVID cases on the rise, weekly claims data would likely be the first place a stumble would show up.

Elsewhere in economic data, job openings rocketed to 10.1 million in June. That’s the fourth straight record high for openings and easily surpassed the 9.28 million estimate. For the first time since the pandemic began, the number of openings exceeded unemployed workers.

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