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U.S. Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Edge Down To New Pandemic-Era Low

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A report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly edged lower in the week ended October 16th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims slipped to 290,000, a decrease of 6,000 from the previous week's revised level of 296,000.

The modest decrease surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 300,000 from the 293,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the unexpected dip, jobless claims once again fell to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

The report said the less volatile four-week moving average also dropped to a new pandemic-era low of 319,750, a decrease of 15,250 from the previous week's revised average of 335,000.

Continuing claims, a reading on the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment assistance also tumbled by 122,000 to 2.481 million in the week ended October 9, hitting the lowest level since March 2020.

The four-week moving average of continuing claims also slid to a new pandemic-era low of 2,655,500, a decrease of 84,750 from the previous week's revised average of 2,740,250.

"The number of individuals collecting any type of unemployment benefit plunged 8mn in the four weeks ending October 2, with the end of federal emergency benefits accounting for more than 95% of the decline," said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead Economist at Oxford Economics.

She added, "Further declines in claims will be more gradual, reflecting the ongoing recovery in the labor market."

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