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Economic Report: Jobless claims slip to 267,000 and touch new pandemic low

The numbers: The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits in early November slid to another pandemic low, as businesses frantically sought to beef up staff and avoid layoffs during the biggest labor shortage in decades.

New filings for jobless benefit dropped by 4,000 to 267,000 in the seven days ended Nov. 30, the government said Wednesday. The report was released a day earlier than normal because of the Veterans Day holiday.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had estimated new claims would total a seasonally adjusted 265,000.

Last month new unemployment filings dropped below the key 300,000 level for the first time since the start of the viral outbreak in March 2020. If new claims keep falling as expected, they could soon return to precrisis levels in the low 200,000s.

Read: ‘My business faces a dire shortage of workers,’ owner tells Congress

Big picture: The U.S. economy is accelerating again and businesses have more than 10 million jobs to fill, but they can’t find enough workers owing to one of the biggest labor shortages in decades.

Read: U.S. adds 531,000 new jobs in October as economy recovers

The speed of the recovery will depend on how quickly the millions of people missing from the labor force return to work. Without more labor, companies can’t produce enough goods and services to meet demand.

Read: Top Fed officials signal interest-rate increases in 2022 are on the table

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average

and S&P 500

were set to open lower in Wednesday trades. Stock prices have been hitting record highs.

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