America’s jobs recovery continues, albeit at a slow pace, as another 837,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
That was slightly fewer from the prior week, although last week’s figures notably do not include updated numbers from California, which paused processing initial claims for two weeks. The state is working on a large backlog in benefits claims and implementing fraud prevention. The Labor Department estimated California’s initial claims numbers by duplicating the prior week’s reported claims figures.
Claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that Congress created to help workers who wouldn’t usually be eligible for benefits, such as the self-employed, stood at 650,120.
Adding these together, there were 1.4 million total first-time claims for benefits last week, roughly even with the prior week.
Continued claims, which count workers who have filed for benefits for at least two consecutive weeks, stood at 11.8 million on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The slowing pace of the decline in initial jobless claims is another piece of evidence that the economic recovery is running out of steam.
Thursday’s Labor Department report on jobless claims is just the latest in this week’s report card on the labor market: the government’s jobs report — the last before the election — is due on Friday.
Economists expect 850,000 jobs were added back in September, bringing the unemployment rate to 8.2%, down from 8.4% in August.