Jobless claims fall below 300,000 for the first time since the pandemic began

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Jobless claims fall below 300,000 for the first time since the pandemic began

Initial jobless claims fell below 300,000 for the first time since the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Labor Department said Thursday.

In another sign that the jobs market is getting closer to its old self, first-time claims for unemployment insurance totaled 293,000, the best level since March 14, 2020, which saw 256,000 claims just as the Covid-19 spread intensified.

The Dow Jones estimate for claims was 318,000. Last week’s total represented a decline of 36,000 from the previous week.

The four-week moving average, which helps smooth out weekly volatility, dropped to 334,250, a 10,5000 decline that also marked the lowest number since March 14, 2020.

Also, continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline number, declined by 134,000 to 2.59 million, another pandemic-era low.

A separate economic release Thursday showed that prices for final-demand wholesale goods increased 0.5% in September, slightly below the 0.6% Dow Jones estimate for the producer price index.

However, on a 12-month basis, the index increased 8.6%, a fresh record for a data series that goes back to November 2010 and reflective of the current inflationary climate, according to the Labor Department.

Excluding food and energy, the core PPI rose just 0.1% vs. the 0.5% forecast, putting the 12-month gain at 5.9%, the highest level since March 1982.

This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.

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