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US initial jobless claims drop for 1st time in a month

 
Washington, Oct 8 (IANS) Initial jobless claims in the US fell for the first time in a month to reach 326,000, as the labour market recovery has been disrupted by the Covid-19 surge fuelled by the Delta variant, the Labour Department reported.

In the week ending October 2, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped by 38,000 from the previous week's upwardly revised level of 364,000, according to a report released on Thursday by the department's Bureau of Labour Statistics.

The latest figure was the lowest since early September and reverses a trend of rising claims over the previous three weeks amid the resurgence, reports Xinhua news agency.

The four-week moving average, a method to iron out data volatility, increased by 3,500 to 344,000, according to the report.

In recent months, initial jobless claims hit fresh lows in the pandemic era on multiple occasions, but the declining trend was repeatedly reversed, indicating a bumpy economic recovery.

The latest jobless claims report also showed that the number of people continuing to collect regular state unemployment benefits in the week ending September 25 decreased by 97,000 to 2.7 million.

The number had peaked in April and May last year, when it was over 20 million.

Meanwhile, the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, state and federal combined, for the week ending September 18 fell by 854,638 to 4.17 million.

In particular, the number of people filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program that covers workers who normally would not qualify for unemployment insurance, such as gig workers and the self-employed, fell by 411,558 to 647,690 for the week ending September 18.

The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits for those who exhaust regular state benefits, also saw its claims fall by 360,999 to 630,814.

These numbers have decreased significantly after federal unemployment benefits for over 10 million people expired in early September.

--IANS
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