Initial jobless claims dip to pandemic-era low

310K Americans last week filed for first-time jobless benefits

The number of Americans filing first-time jobless claims last week dipped to the lowest level since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Labor Department said Thursday that 310,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended Sept. 4, a decrease of 35,000 from the previous week. This was the lowest reading since March 14, 2020. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting 335,000 new filings. 

"With another significant move lower, new jobless claims have reached a fresh pandemic era low, seemingly on the verge of finally pushing below the 300,000 level," said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate."

Continuing claims for the week ended Aug. 28 declined 22,000 to 2.783 million, which was worse than the 2.744 million that analysts were anticipating. The prior week’s reading was revised up 57,000 to 2.805 million. 


About 11.93 million Americans received some form of unemployment assistance, a decrease of more than 255,700 from the prior week. More than 30.4 million Americans filed for benefits during the comparable week in 2020. 

Looking ahead, economists will be paying close attention to the data in the coming weeks as the $300 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits expired earlier this month, which is expected to help fill some of the record 10.9 million job openings. 

However, job seekers may be hesitant to return to work due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. 

"The coming weeks will produce some noisy data challenging interpretation and understanding, as impacts of Ida including flooding, the end of federal pandemic unemployment benefits, the still raging COVID pandemic and supply constraints muddle the picture while posing headwinds for the economy," Hamrick said.