The Labor Department reported Wednesday that weekly unemployment claims fell to 803,000 vs. 885,000, a correction after a two-week increase.
The number seen in early November is above the recent lows of 711,000, reflecting the muted recovery and impact of states’ trade and social sanctions as coronovirus cases continue to break records.
Initial claims represent the number of workers seeking jobless claims for the first time, and are used by economists as an estimate of retrenchment activity.
The Labor Department usually issues unemployed claims reports on Thursday, but did so a day earlier in light of the Christmas holiday.
Unemployed claims increased to about 7 million at the end of March, and have improved since. Yet they are almost four times above pre-epidemic levels.
The initial plateau also tops the new plateau seen in the Great Recession under the Obama administration, reaching 661,000 in March 2009.