AUGUST 23, 2021 – JOBLESS CLAIMS FALL TO PANDEMIC ERA LOWS
Jobless claims hit post-pandemic low falling for the fourth week in a row indicating the job market is recovering. Employers are hiring to meet a surge in demand. The Labor Department reported jobless claims fell to 348,000 last week, and the 4-week average claims is also a pandemic low. For context, jobless claims peaked in January at over 900,000. Continuing claims also fell 2.82 million, a 79,000 decline from the week before.
Since last year when 22 million jobs were eliminated, the US economy has recovered much of the lost jobs, down 5.7 million jobs as compared to February 2020. Employers have added a rising number of jobs for the last three months, and now are experiencing labor shortages in some sectors. Wages are up 4 percent year over year to July.
The Fed’s annual symposium is this week on August 26-28. Notwithstanding the effects of the delta variant of the virus on the economy, the Fed is expected to outline their plans for slowing asset purchases and the possible timing of an initial rate increase, be it the end of 2023, or the end of 2022.