Application for U.S. state unemployment benefits declined for a fourth consecutive week, a trend that suggests labor market conditions are improving as the economy recovers.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
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Initial unemployment claims in regular state programs declined 29,000 to 348,000 in the week ended Aug 14, a pandemic low.
Continuing claims for state benefits dropped to 2.8 million in the week ended Aug 7, also the lowest since the pandemic started.
The decrease in initial claims signals to strengthen business and fewer dismissals as economic activity improves. An increased initial filing in the next few weeks could point to labor market weakness as the delta variant of Covid-19 spreads.
Some US states and cities have reintroduced mask mandates in recent weeks to respond to Covid-19 variants, and businesses have delayed their return-to-office plans.
Texas and Illinois recorded the largest decreases in initial claims last week. Virginia recorded the largest increase by New Mexico and California. Continuing claims in all programs dropped to 11.7 million in the week ended Jul 31.