By David Harrison

Worker filings for unemployment benefits hit the lowest level in more than half a century last week as a tight labor market keeps layoffs low.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell to 184,000 in the week ended Dec. 4, the lowest level since September 1969, the Labor Department said. That was close to a recent record total of 194,000 recorded in late November.

The prior week's level was revised up to 227,000. The four-week moving average, which smooths out weekly volatility, fell to 218,750.

Unemployment claims have been steadily falling all year as the labor market has tightened. They have now fallen below where they were before the pandemic caused layoffs to surge in March 2020. Claims averaged 218,000 in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit the U.S.

Write to David Harrison at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 09, 2021 09:01 ET (14:01 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.