Jobless claims fell below 300,000 last week for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, a sign companies are holding tightly to their workers amid strong demand for labor.

Claims, a proxy for layoffs, decreased to 293,000 last week from 329,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said Thursday. Claims are at the lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March 2020. The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths week-to-week variations, fell to 334,250, also the lowest since March 2020.

The report showed that the number of continuing unemployment claims, a proxy for those receiving benefits. That is a pandemic low as well.

Layoffs are easing from last year’s high levels as companies hold on to workers they have and attempt to fill positions amid strong demand. Job openings reached a record high this summer, though eased some in August, while the number of out-of-work job seekers declined in September.... Read More: WSJ