Initial claims for unemployment insurance were little changed over the past week, hovering around pandemic-era lows because the jobs market shows further signs of healing.
First-time filings totaled 353,000 for the week ended Aug. 14, a small increase from the previous week’s 349,000, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. That was slightly worse than the 350,000 stock market index estimate.
A separate economic reading showed that gross domestic product increased at a 6.6% annualized pace within the second quarter, per the second estimate Thursday from the Department of Commerce. That was sooner than the 6.5% initial estimate but a notch below the 6.7% stock market index forecast.
Taken together, the reports show an economy growing through the pandemic, despite concerns over sharply rising cases of the Covid-19 delta variant.
Markets showed little reaction to the news, with stock futures indicating a mostly flat open on Wall Street.
On the roles front, weekly claims held round the best levels they’ve seen since March 2020, though they’re well above pre-pandemic levels and showing some signs of flattening.
Continuing claims also showed little change, dropping 3,000 from the previous week to 2.86 million, in line with data that runs every week behind the headline number. However, the four-week moving average tumbled 108,500 to simply over 2.9 million.
Maryland (3,618) and Illinois (3,515) showed the biggest weekly gains, while Michigan saw a decline of seven,056, in step with unadjusted data.
The total of these receiving benefits across all government programs rose to only above 12 million, per data through Aug. 7. A year ago the entire was nearly 27.5 million.