Unemployment Claims Reach New Pandemic Low

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer November 24, 2021
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woman laid off

​States reported that 199,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Nov. 20, falling to the lowest level since 1969. Initial claims were reported at 256,000 on March 14, 2020, just before the pandemic-related spike.

The total number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits fell to 2 million, far below the 22.7 million reported at this time last year when federally enhanced unemployment benefits were still in place. By comparison, continuing claims had averaged 1.6 million throughout 2019.

The U.S. labor market is showing renewed momentum, as employers added 531,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate fell to a pandemic-era low of 4.6 percent. The economy is still more than 4 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels however, and down by nearly 3 million workers, compared to February 2020.

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