Applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell more than forecast last week, suggesting the labor market remains on the path of gradual improvement — while still far from its pre-pandemic health.
Initial jobless claims in regular state programs totaled 751,000 in the week ended Oct. 24, down 40,000 from the prior week, Labor Department data showed Thursday. On an unadjusted basis, the figure decreased by a little more than 28,000.
Continuing claims — the total pool of Americans on ongoing state unemployment benefits — decreased 709,000 to 7.76 million in the week ended Oct. 17. Still, the number of Americans on extended unemployment benefits rose, reflecting those who have exhausted regular state benefits and rolled onto separate programs.
Economists called for 770,000 initial claims and 7.78 million continuing claims, according to the median estimates in Bloomberg surveys.
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