Initial Jobless Claims Dip Again, But Remain Elevated

Distraught African American businesswoman wearing protective face mask while sitting in a hallway and waiting for job interview.

Drazen Zigic/Getty Images

The number of people initiating claims for unemployment benefits fell for the second week, dropping below 900,000, but still stuck at about four times levels from early March.

U.S. initial jobless claims for the week ending Jan. 23 fell 67,000 from the previous week, declining to 847,000, according to data released by the Department of Labor Thursday. That was better than the 901,125 consensus estimate of economists polled by Moody’s Analytics.

While the latest figures were better than expected, it’s been a tough winter for the struggling U.S. labor market. The four-week moving average was 868,000, the highest level since September. Economists are optimistic the trajectory will change with improved distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and additional fiscal stimulus from the federal government.