News US Economy News Unemployment Claims Show Slow Progress 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 July 15, 2021 Fact checked by Helen Reis Fact checked by Helen Reis Helen is the senior news editor for The Balance and a veteran journalist with more than 17 years of experience, mostly in business and finance news. She is passionate about making complicated topics easy for everyone to understand and compulsive about accuracy and transparency. learn about our editorial policies Photo: VioletaStoimenova/Getty Images The number of people initiating claims for unemployment insurance fell to a new pandemic-era low last week, continuing to recover slowly. Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 26,000 to 360,000 in the week through July 10, the lowest level since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020, according to seasonally adjusted data released Thursday by the Labor Department. Uneven progress so far this summer stopped the momentum built in the spring, which nearly halved the weekly volume of claims after they’d stayed stuck at about four times pre-pandemic levels for many months. Volume is still nearly twice as high as it was immediately before the pandemic, just one sign the job market hasn’t improved as smoothly as other parts of the economy. Many have blamed a $300 federal supplement to weekly unemployment benefits—part of pandemic relief—for the labor market’s struggles, and this spring most Republican state governors decided to remove their states from federal benefit programs early to make returning to work more attractive. “The overall number of claims across all programs will start to drop more precipitously” as more benefits end in the coming weeks, Dante D’Antonio, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in a commentary. Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Rob at email@example.com. 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. U.S. Department of Labor. "Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims." Moody's Analytics. "Jobless Claims."