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Jobless claims hit 52-year low

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Weekly claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a new, multi-decade low last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.



At 184,000 claims, adjusted for seasonal swings, it was the lowest level of initial claims since September 1969, when the figure stood at 182,000.

It was also a lower count than economists had predicted. It's further proof that America's jobs recovery is pushing ahead this winter, with employers vying for staff and workers having plenty of jobs to choose from. Companies are still have a hard time keeping up with the buoyant demand for goods and services, not least because they are struggling to find workers.



But the pandemic has complicated this a lot. Last summer, when claims were still in the millions, the Labor Department made a change to its adjustment methodology. And it's still using this new methodology now that claims are back to pre-pandemic levels, Simons said.

On top of that, there is the holiday season: Even though claims have declined steadily since September -- dropping to an initial 52-year low in November -- the holiday season, starting with Veteran's Day and ending only with Martin Luther King Day in February, is a period of heightened volatility, according to Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics.

In spite of the volatility, Englund thinks the claims data suggest a strong jobs gain in December.


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