Weekly unemployment claims stay low within the pandemic period; GDP revised upwards to six.6%

Initial unemployment insurance claims have barely changed over the past week, hovering around the lows of the coronavirus pandemic era as the job market shows further signs of recovery.

Initial filings totaled 353,000 for the week ending August 21, a slight increase from 349,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was a little worse than the Dow Jones 350,000 estimate.

A separate economic measurement showed that gross domestic product in the second quarter rose by 6.6% on an annual basis, according to the second estimate by the Department of Commerce on Thursday. That was above the initial 6.5% estimate, but one notch below the Dow Jones’ 6.7% forecast.

Taken together, the reports show an economy that is growing despite concerns about soaring cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant from the pandemic.

Markets reacted little to the news, with stocks largely unchanged on Thursday morning.

On the job front, weekly demands stayed around the best levels they have seen since March 2020, despite being well above pre-pandemic levels and showing some signs of flattening.

Persistent claims also showed little change, dropping 3,000 from the previous week to 2.86 million, according to data a week behind the headline. However, the four-week moving average fell by 108,500 to just over 2.9 million.

Maryland (3,618) and Illinois (3,515) saw the largest weekly gains, while Michigan saw a 7,056 decrease according to unadjusted data.

The total number of beneficiaries in all government programs rose to just over 12 million by Aug. 7, according to data. A year ago it was almost 27.5 million.

For the GDP revision, the second reading for the pace of all goods and services produced was higher than the original estimate due to an upward revision of fixed investment in non-residential buildings. Some cuts in previous estimates for private inventory and fixed investment in residential buildings, as well as lower values ​​in government and local spending, partially offset the higher figure.

Correction: In the week ending August 21, 353,000 applications for first-time unemployment claims were submitted. In an earlier version, the date was incorrectly specified.

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