Jobless claims fell to a new pandemic low last week, suggesting the labor market continues to heal even as the Delta variant causes uncertainty.

First-time applications for benefits, a proxy for layoffs, fell to a seasonally adjusted 348,000 in the week ended Aug. 14, from a revised 377,000 in the prior week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That was the lowest level of claims since the pandemic took hold in the U.S. in March 2020.

The four-week moving average, which smooths often volatile data, fell by 19,000 to 377,750 last week, also a fresh pandemic low. New jobless claims are down more than 50% since January.


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