Investing.com -- The number of Americans applying for initial unemployment benefits ticked down to a post pandemic low of 840,000 last week, but remained at levels indicating that the recovery in the labor market is losing momentum as the coronavirus pandemic lingers.
Economists had forecast a larger decline to 820,000. The prior week's figure was revised up to 849,000 from an initially reported 837,000.
The number of continuing claims, which are reported with a one-week lag to initial claims, decreased to 10.576 million, a drop of over one million for the week. The previous week's figure was also revised down to 11.979 million.
The report highlighted the urgent need for more fiscal stimulus to help the economy recover from a recession triggered by the pandemic. The U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September, the smallest gain since the jobs recovery started in May, after advancing 1.489 million the previous month. Continuing claims are now falling more steeply than new payrolls are rising, suggesting that many are leaving the workforce rather than looking for new work.
The data are still being affected by California's decision to pause filing its numbers for two weeks while it assesses the extent of fraudulent claims and various other administrative issues.
The number of people claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fell by over 400,000 in the week through September 19 to 11.39 million. As such, the overall number of people claiming all forms of benefits related to unemployment fell by just over 1 million to 25.505 million.