Claims for jobless benefits fall by 55,000, lowest since March.

A sign at the Mahle Behr plant in Dayton, facing Webster Street, invited job applicants in 2017 to inquire within. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
A sign at the Mahle Behr plant in Dayton, facing Webster Street, invited job applicants in 2017 to inquire within. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

The change may signal a stronger job market

Layoffs may have slowed nationwide in the most recent week, according to new Labor Department numbers.

In the week ending Oct. 17, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment benefits was 787,000 in the U.S., a decrease of 55,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the federal government said Thursday.

The number is seen as one barometer of layoffs nationwide.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 5.7 percent for the week ending Oct. 10, a decrease of 0.7 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate.

Historically, these remain very high numbers, but down dramatically from March, when the pandemic and related shutdowns triggered nearly 7 million claims in one week. In fact, the latest numbers are the lowest since mid-March.

“We are seeing robust activity and currently have hundreds of open positions for workers, primarily within the manufacturing and logistics sectors,” said Tom Maher, owner of the Manpower employment staffing franchise in Kettering. “More work than qualified workers.”

In Montgomery County, 870 first-time applications were filed for benefits in the week ending Oct. 10 (the most recent numbers available), on top of the 13,716 ongoing claims continuing from previous weeks.

In Clark County, 202 first-time claims matched 2,764 continuing claims. In Greene County, those numbers were 172 and 2,717, respectively.

Butler County saw 493 new claims with 8,257 continuing claims, while in Warren County those numbers were 277 and 3,925, respectively.

Miami County had 149 first-time claims and 1,928 continuing claims.

Gus Faucher, chief economist for PNC Financial, sees a long road ahead.

“Continuing claims are falling steadily, but that is more because of the expiration of benefits for some workers than a more rapid transition from unemployed to employed,” Faucher said in a note. “The decline in total claims is slower. Some of the unemployed are being rehired, but it is still going to take years for the labor market to fully recover from the Viral Recession.”

A total of 23.15 million people received some form of unemployment assistance in the week ending Oct. 3.

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