ew applications for unemployment benefits in the U.S. fell slightly last week but remained between 800,000 and 900,000 for the fifth straight week, reflecting a labor-market recovery that is losing momentum.
Weekly initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 36,000 to a seasonally adjusted 837,000 in the week ended Sept. 26, the Labor Department said Thursday. In a positive sign, the number of people collecting unemployment benefits through regular state programs, which cover most workers, decreased by 980,000 to about 11.8 million for the week ended Sept. 19. That was the lowest level since March.
The totals for unemployment applications and payments remain well above pre-pandemic peaks but are down significantly from this spring, when the coronavirus pandemic and related shutdowns caused both measures to rise to the highest levels on record back to the 1960s.