Last week, the number of Americans filing new unemployment claims fell to its lowest level in more than 52 years, as labour market conditions tightened further amid a severe labour shortage. However, challenges correcting the data for seasonal changes around this time of year likely overstated the drop recorded by the Labor Department in its weekly Jobless claims report on Thursday. The Jobless rate fell to a 21-month low of 4.2 percent in November, according to the claims report, which is the most recent data on the economy’s health.
According to government data released on Wednesday, there were 11 million job opportunities at the end of October, and Americans were quitting at near-record rates. For the week ending Dec. 4, initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 184,000, the lowest level since September 1969.
The large increase in filings prior to seasonal adjustment may not have been completely realised, and the tight labour market may be restricting the number of seasonal layoffs that occur around this time of year in comparison to normal. California, New York, Texas, and Michigan all saw a significant surge in filings. Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania all saw significant increases. Infections with COVID-19 are on the rise in certain of these states. In Virginia and North Carolina, claims decreased considerably.