Unemployment claims for this week have now hit their lowest level since the pandemic began. While they are still over a million, they decline was more than expected:
CNBC – Weekly jobless claims hit their lowest level of the pandemic era, totaling 1.186 million last week, well below Wall Street expectations.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for 1.42 million. The level for the week ended Aug. 1 represented a drop of 249,000 from the previous period.
More good news: Continuing claims dropped by over 844,000:
Amid worries that the employment picture was faltering after two record-breaking months of job creation, the claims number indicates some momentum. Continuing claims, or those who have collected benefits for two straight weeks, dropped by 844,000 to 16.1 million.
Markets reacted positively to the news, with Dow futures shaving almost all of their earlier losses as stocks looked to open about flat.
The last time the weekly claims number was this low was March 14, just as the coronavirus hit pandemic status and the U.S. economy came to a standstill in an effort to halt the spread. The totals since then have easily eclipsed anything seen before in records going back to 1967.
While the drop in continuing claims doesn’t completely offset the new claims, it comes relatively close. And I think we can call that good news as well.