New filings for jobless claims in the U.S. totaled 787,000 last week, the lowest total since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting 875,000 for the week ended Oct. 17.
The total reflected a decline of 55,000 from the downwardly revised 842,000 from the previous week. The last time the weekly claims total was lower was the 282,000 on March 14, just before an avalanche of layoffs that occurred in conjunction with efforts to combat the virus.
One reason for the decline in jobless claims has been the migration of workers who have exhausted their regular benefits and have moved to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance emergency compensation program.
That total increased by 509,828 for the week ended Oct. 3 to 3.3 million.
In addition to the substantial drop in the headline number, continuing claims also showed another hefty drop. The level of those getting benefits for at least two weeks dripped by 1.02 million to 8.37 million.
The trend pulled the insured unemployment rate, a simple measure of those collecting benefits against the total labor force, down 0.7 percentage points to 5.7%.
This is breaking news. Please check back here for updates.