|Weekly jobless claims total 315,000|
Jobless claims climbed slightly last week but remained near pandemic lows, as demand for workers keeps a lid on layoffs. The Labor Department said that initial unemployment claims in the seven days to September 18th rose by 16,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 351,000 from a revised 335,000 the prior week, reaching their highest since the week ended August 21st. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a decrease to 320,000 new applications. Continuing claims for state benefits increased to 2.8m in the week ended September 11th. California saw claims rise by 24,221, and Virginia saw an increase of 12,879, by far the biggest increases last week. Louisiana saw the biggest decrease, as the state recovers from Hurricane Ida. “What we’re seeing is a labor market that continues to get better but we’re still dealing with high levels of unemployment,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at Pennsylvania-based PNC Financial Services Group. He projects that at the current pace of job growth and labor market recovery, unemployment claims will reach pre-pandemic levels some time in mid-2022.