The Department of Labor reported that the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits dropped to a 19-month-low last week. First-time filings for unemployment claims totaled 290,000 for that week ended on Oct. 16, according to the agency, reporting that the figure was down 6,000 from the previous week. The data released Thursday also showed state unemployment rolls shrinking significantly earlier in October. It was also the second straight week that claims remained below 300,000 as employers hold on to workers in the face of an acute labor shortage. Some economists surveyed by Dow Jones last week predicted 300,000 unemployment claims. Claims have declined from a record high of 6.149 million in early April 2020. A 250,000 to 300,000 range for claims is seen as consistent with a healthy labor market. “We remain skeptical that the end of expanded unemployment benefits will lead to a substantial and quick …


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