Jobless claims fall to pandemic-era low

360K Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits last week fell to its lowest level since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Labor Department said Thursday that 360,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits in the week ended July 10, a decline of 26,000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised 386,000. The reading, which matched the Refinitiv consensus, was the lowest since March 14, 2020, when 256,000 workers filed claims. 

Continuing claims fell to 3.241 million in the week ended July 3, which was below the 3.313 million that was expected. The prior reading was revised up to 3.367 million.

Economists expect jobless claims to retreat in the weeks ahead as more states end the $300 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits. Twenty-two states ended the benefits by the start of July and a handful of others are expected to follow suit before they expire later this year.


"Overall, there are still 13.8 million Americans receiving some form of unemployment assistance, down 372,000 from the previous week," said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. "That still elevated total will certainly be falling as the federal pandemic programs expire in September."