First-Time Unemployment Claims Continue Downward Trend, Drop to Pandemic-Era Low

The pandemic isn’t going away, but if statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor are an indication, perhaps the country is leaving pandemic-era levels of unemployment behind.

According to the numbers released Thursday by the labor department, some 281,000 U.S. workers filed for first-time unemployment benefits during the week ending Oct. 23. That number represents the lowest number of such claims since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The DOL said initial unemployment claims dropped by some 10,000 from the previous week and fell to their lowest level since 256,000 such claims were filed in the weeke of March 14,2020.

The four-week average of claims fell by nearly 21,000 to 299,250, also a pandemic low, the Associated Press reported.

Dr. Robert Dye, senior vice president and chief economist for Comerica, wrote in a piece on Comerica’s website, said he expects the numbers to continue to fall. “We expect them to continue to trend downward through the end of the year,” Dye wrote. “We expect to reach a normal level of around 200,000 by the end of this year.”