News US Economy News Jobless Claims Drop to New Pandemic-Era Low Decline to 348,000 marks fourth straight week of falling claims By Rob Anthes Rob Anthes Twitter Rob Anthes uses his economics degree and a love of spreadsheets to shed light on how this era of rapid change affects your finances. A journalist for more than 14 years, he was managing editor at New Jersey-based Community News Service before tackling inflation and the student loan debate as a reporter for The Balance. learn about our editorial policies Published on August 19, 2021 Fact checked by Glenn Hunter Fact checked by Glenn Hunter Glenn Hunter has written or edited thousands of articles over four decades, including on the savings and loan and subprime mortgage crises. Before bringing topics like tax policy and mortgage trends to life at The Balance, he edited for the Dallas Business Journal and freelanced for Fortune and the Los Angeles Times. learn about our editorial policies Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: sanjeri/Getty Images The number of people initiating claims for unemployment insurance hit a new pandemic-era low last week, falling to within 100,000 of the level last seen before lockdowns and restrictions sent joblessness soaring. Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell for a fourth straight week, declining to 348,000 in the week through Aug. 14, a decrease of 29,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to seasonally adjusted data released Thursday by the Labor Department. Economists had expected 366,972 claims, according to a consensus estimate cited by Moody’s Analytics. In the week ended March 14, 2020, just before the full force of the pandemic and the resulting shutdowns caused millions of people to file for jobless benefits, 256,000 had filed initial claims. By spring 2021, the weekly volume of claims had fallen by nearly half, then hovered around the 400,000 mark for most of the summer. The job market has recovered in fits and starts over the last year. July saw almost a million people added to payrolls, but rising cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus are arousing concern that the economic recovery could falter. So far signs of this haven’t shown up in the data on initial claims for unemployment insurance, wrote Daniel Zhao, senior economist at career website Glassdoor. Instead, the latest number hints that businesses still want to hire workers and fill a record number of job openings. Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Federal Reserve Economic Data. “Initial Claims.” Department of Labor. “Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims. Seasonally Adjusted Data,” Page 6.