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Jobless claims reach 52-year weekly low

Last week, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level seen in over 52 years. Labor markets have continued to tighten as employers have been facing a shortage of workers.

The Labor Department reported the dip in new jobless claims in its weekly unemployment claims run-down, but some say the decrease was likely exaggerated by difficulties in adjusting data for expected seasonal fluctuations this time year.

The report is considered the timeliest data on the economies health, and it followed news last week that the jobless rate fell to a near two-year low of 4.2 percent in November. Data released on Wednesday showed that there were 11 million open jobs at the end of October, as Americans were quitting jobs at near-record rates. 

Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union in Vienna, Virginia, spoke to the new report: “While the latest data should be taken with a grain of salt given seasonal adjustments, we may be entering a stretch when lower-than-average layoffs continue until the ‘Great Resignation’ fades.”

Claims for state unemployment fell 43,000 to around 184,000, adjusted seasonally, for the week that ended December 4, and the number marked the lowest level of claims since September 1969.

Claims had reached a record high of 6.149 million in the early days of April 2020, and economists have said the usual pattern of applications increasing when weather gets colder is not holding due to the tightening labor market.

Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan in New York, commented, “The big jump in filings before seasonal adjustment was not fully realized, and the tight labor market may be limiting the amount of seasonal layoffs that take place around this time of year relative to norms.” 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: CNN

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