WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits last week fell to a 19-month low, indicating a balanced labor market, although a labor shortage may keep the pace of employment moderate in October. The US Department of Labor said today that total government jobless claims filed for the first time fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 290,000 applications for the week ending October 16. This is the lowest level since mid-March 2020, when the country was in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is the second consecutive week in which orders remain below the 300,000 mark, with employers keeping their employees in the face of severe labor shortages. Economists polled by Reuters had expected 300,000 orders in the last week. Claims have fallen from a record peak of 6.149 million in early April 2020. A range of 250-300 thousand applications corresponds to a strong job market.
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