Another 860,000 Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.
What that number means: It was another week-on-week decline for jobless claims, but the improvements have been slow and the jobs recovery is running out of steam. Weekly claims have improved since mid-August, when they briefly inched higher.
Continued jobless claims, counting workers who have filed for benefits for at least two weeks in a row, stood at 12.6 million, down significantly from last week.
Worse still, these numbers don't include claims filed under the government's various other jobless aid programs, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides benefits for those who aren't usually eligible, such as the self-employed.