States reported that 214,000 workers filed for new unemployment benefits during the week ending Oct. 15. The total is a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level and less than the prepandemic average of 218,000 in 2019.
The number of workers continuing to claim unemployment benefits—1.3 million—is still well below the pre-pandemic average of 1.7 million. The consistently low number of jobless claims comes amid efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy and bring down inflation, which is running near its highest levels since the early 1980s.
The U.S. labor market has remained resilient but is showing signs of slowing. Employers added 263,000 jobs in September, the smallest monthly job gain this year, and job openings fell by over 1 million in August. But the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent last month, matching a 50-year low. Layoffs have ticked up slightly in recent months but remain at historically low levels.