116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the seventh straight week, to a pandemic low of 268,000.
U.S. jobless claims dipped by 1,000 last week from the week before, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.
In Iowa, initial claims dropped by a couple hundred — to 1,943 from 2,162 for the week before — according to the Iowa Workforce Development’s website. Continuing applications also fell, to 9,113 from 9,826.
Linn County recorded 138 initial claims, while Johnson County saw 49.
The applications for unemployment aid are a proxy for layoffs, and their steady decline this year — after topping 900,000 one week in early January — reflects the labor market's strong recovery from last year's brief but intense coronavirus recession.
The four-week average of claims, which smooths week-to-week volatility, also fell to a pandemic low just below 273,000.
Jobless claims have been edging lower, toward their pre-pandemic level of around 220,000 a week.
Overall, 2.1 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment checks the week that ended Nov. 6, down by 129,000 from the week before.
Since April 2020, employers have hired more than 18 million people, including 531,000 in October. But the U.S. economy still is more than 4 million jobs short of where it was in February last year.
The numbers — for the nation or for Iowa — do not represent a complete picture as they don’t count people who have left the system because they’ve stopped applying for unemployment benefits or have cycled through.
The Gazette contributed Iowa figures to this report.