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Jobless claims fall again as enhanced pandemic benefits fade away

Weekly jobless claims hit another pandemic-era low last week as the elimination of enhanced benefits sent fewer people to the unemployment line.

First-time filings for unemployment insurance totaled 290,000 for the week ended Oct. 16, down 6,000 from the previous period, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for an even 300,000.

The numbers take on added significance as the filing period covers the survey week the Labor Department uses to compile its closely watched monthly nonfarm payrolls report.

Continuing claims also fell to their lowest level since the Covid-19 crisis began, dropping to 2.48 million, a decline of 122,000 from the previous week. Those numbers run a week behind the headline weekly total.

Both drops, the lowest totals since March 14, 2020, come a month after most programs that provide enhanced or extended benefits related to the pandemic came to a close.

The total of those receiving benefits under all state and federal programs fell by 369,992 to about 2.8 million, according to data through Oct. 2. A year ago, that total was nearly 23.8 million.

This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.

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