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New U.S. Unemployment Benefit Claims Resume their Downward Slide

The Labor Department reported 38,000 fewer new claims this week

Fewer Americans filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, reversing a recent uptick in the metric of labor market health, government data said Thursday.

The U.S. Labor Department reported 326,000 new claims, seasonally adjusted, filed in the week ended Oct. 2, 2021, 38,000 less than the previous week's upwardly revised level and fewer than analysts had expected.

After soaring into the millions as the COVID-19 pandemic began, new unemployment filings have dropped substantially over the course of this year as vaccines allow businesses to return to normal and rehire workers. Last week's data reverses a three-week streak of increases, and brings claims back to where they were about a month ago, according to the data, but above their pre-pandemic level of 256,000.

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