New weekly jobless claims are expected to come in at yet another pandemic-era low, with more progress being made in the labor market as new virus infections fall and companies compete for workers.
The Labor Department is set to release its jobless claims report Thursday morning. Here are the main metrics expected from the print, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:
Initial unemployment claims, week ended October 30: 275,000 expected, 281,000 during prior week
Continuing claims, week ended October 23: 2.147 million expected, 2.243 million during prior week
Economists anticipate that new jobless claims came in below the psychologically important 300,000 mark for a fourth straight week, and reached the lowest level since March 2020. This would represent a significant improvement from last year, when new claims were coming in at a weekly pace of more than 700,000 throughout October 2020. But new weekly filings have yet to break back to pre-virus levels, since new claims were coming in at a weekly rate of just over 200,000 throughout 2019.
Other data on the labor market has also been moving in an improving direction recently. On Wednesday, ADP reported that private employers added back 571,000 payrolls in October, or the most since June. And Friday’s government-issued jobs report from the Labor Department is expected to show a pick-up in hiring, with 450,000 positions expected to have come back after a disappointing 194,000 in September.
But even given the past months of jobs growth, the labor market has yet to return fully to pre-pandemic conditions. Labor supply shortages continue to weigh on companies across industries, and workers have been quitting their jobs in record droves. As of September, the civilian labor force was still down by about 3.1 million individuals from pre-virus levels.
“We’re still some ways away from full employment. We should not believe that the current environment is actually the new normal,” Gregory Daco, Oxford Economics chief U.S. economist, told Yahoo Finance Live on Wednesday. “We went through a summer lull, where there was a rise in Delta infections, which led to renewed virus fear and renewed care for sick people. We know that was a big constraint on labor supply.”
“We continue to see numerous supply constraints, both on the capital and on the labor front. And we expect that as we move towards the end of the year, we are going to see an improving health situation, as well as an improvement on the supply side that should help release some of the labor supply and help generate stronger employment growth.”
This post will be updated with the results of the Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET. Check back for updates.
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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