US initial jobless claims below 1 million last week


US initial jobless claims fell to 963,000 in the week ended Aug. 8, the US Department of Labor reported. That’s down from the more than 1.19 million in the previous week, but it remains at a high level.

Last week was also the first time that jobless claims dipped below 1 million since early March.

The number of jobless claims was just 282,000 for the week ended March 14, but the number skyrocketed to 3.3 million in the week ended March 21 as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. The next week, ended March 28, claims shot up further to nearly 6.9 million. They have been, for the most part, edging down since.

Still, the number of claims on Aug. 8 remains high and the $600 per week federal unemployment benefits expired.

Initial jobless claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program — which includes self-employed and gig economy workers among others — fell to 488,622 in the week ended Aug. 8; the numbers were not seasonally adjusted. There were 655,999 initial claims during the previous week.

The Associated Press reports that some economists believe the expiration of the $600 has contributed to the drop in unemployment claims.

Looking at the four-week moving average of total initial claims for the week ended Aug. 8 (seasonally adjusted), it was 1.25 million, a decrease of 86,250 from the previous week’s average.