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March 24, 2022 12:14 PM, EDT

US Initial Jobless Claims Decline to Lowest Since 1969

JobsA worker sands wood components for a pool table in Jeffersonville, Ind. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg News)

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Applications for U.S. state unemployment insurance fell last week to the lowest since 1969 as demand for labor far exceeds supply and rampant inflation keeps the incentive to work high.

Initial unemployment claims decreased by 28,000 to 187,000 in the week ended March 19, Labor Department data showed March 24. The median estimate called for 210,000 applications in a Bloomberg survey of economists.



Continuing claims for state benefits dropped to 1.35 million in the week ended March 12, the lowest since 1970.

The drop in claims is consistent with a labor market in which employers are desperately trying to hang on to workers and attract new ones. Applications should stay low as the combination of dwindling savings and decades-high inflation is raising Americans’ financial incentive to work.

On an unadjusted basis, initial claims decreased to 181,087 last week.

California, Michigan and Kentucky were states registering the biggest drops in unadjusted claims.

— With assistance from Jordan Yadoo and Olivia Rockeman.

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