Jobless claims fall below 300,000 for first time since pandemic. Businesses shun layoffs amid labor shortage

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The numbers: Just 293,000 people who recently lost their jobs applied for unemployment benefits in mid-October, pushing new U.S. jobless claims to a pandemic low amid a frantic effort by companies to hire more workers. New jobless claims sank by 36,000 in the seven days ended Oct. 9 from a revised 329,000 in the prior week, the government said Thursday. It’s the first time new claims have dropped below the key 300,000 level since the start of the viral outbreak in March 2020. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would drop to a seasonally adjusted 318,000. The number of people already collecting state jobless benefits, meanwhile, fell by 134,000 to 2.59 million. These so-called continuing claims are at a pandemic low. Altogether, 3.65 million people were reportedly receiving jobless benefits through eight separate state or federal programs as of Sept. 25. The figures are released with a two-week delay. So
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