Applications for state U.S. unemployment benefits decreased last week following an unexpected jump, indicating the labor market’s gradual recovery is back on track as COVID-19 infections ease from a surge in the prior two months.
Initial jobless claims in regular state programs fell by 98,000 to 1.01 million in the week ended Aug. 22, Labor Department data showed Thursday. Continuing claims — the total number of Americans claiming ongoing unemployment assistance in those programs — also dropped in the week ended Aug. 15, though remained extremely elevated at 14.5 million.
The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 1 million initial claims in the latest week.
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