Red and white help wanted sign on storefront door

Thanks in part to statistical seasonal adjustments around the Thanksgiving holiday, last week’s jobs report showed the number of Americans applying for unemployment dropped by 71,000.

The adjusted weekly jobless claims reached a 52-year low of 199,000. 

Do the adjusted numbers represent real progress? The Labor Department corrects the numbers to balance out seasonal increased temporary hiring that will lead to more layoffs after Jan. 1.

Without holiday adjustments, the number of new claims last week rose by 18,000, to almost 259,000. But the dip in the corrected numbers is reflected in the four-week average, which dropped to its lowest since mid-March 2020, suggesting the job market is continuing to recover from the pandemic recession.

After peaking in early January, applications for benefits have slid to around 220,000 a week, lower than they were before the pandemic.

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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