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Weekly Unemployment Claims Fall To 199,000, A 50-Year Low

The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment claims fell to 199,000 last week for the lowest rate in more than 50 years, the Labor Department reported on Wednesday.

“In the week ending November 20, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 199,000, a decrease of 71,000 from the previous week’s revised level,” the report said. “This is the lowest level for initial claims since November 15, 1969 when it was 197,000.”

The final week before the U.S. economy was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, in the middle of March 2020, saw 256,000 filings. For weeks, the weekly total slowly approached the pre-pandemic level before finally falling off a cliff with Wednesday’s report.

The department said that seasonal adjustments made around the Thanksgiving holiday contributed greatly to the decline in new claims.

“The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 88,572 from the previous week,” the Labor Department said.

President Biden released a statement praising the report:

“Last year, there were 21 million unemployment insurance claims before the Thanksgiving holiday. Today, there were 2.4 million. This is a historic jobs recovery: 5.6 million jobs created since I took office and an unemployment rate of 4.6% — two full years earlier than experts predicted was possible. More Americans are getting back to work and more Americans have money in their pockets, thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the vaccination campaign.”

“We have more work to do before our economy is back to normal, including addressing prices increases that hurt Americans’ pocketbooks and undermine gains in wages and disposable income. That’s why yesterday I announced steps my Administration is taking to bring down the cost of gas for American families and my Administration remains laser focused on implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will ease supply chain bottlenecks across the economy. And it’s why it’s so critical that the Senate pass the Build Back Better Act, which, according to leading economists, will cut costs for American families without adding to price pressures. Build Back Better will cut the cost of prescription drugs, health care, child care and housing for tens of millions of middle class families and seniors – while extending critical middle class tax relief that is helping working families make ends meet.”

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