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The number of Americans filing initial unemployment claims fell for the first time in four weeks as more workers rejoin the labor force following the end of supplemental jobless benefits.

According to the Labor Department, the number of unemployed fell from 38,000 to 326,000 for the first time in the week ending October 2. Analysts polled by Refinitiv were expecting a drop of 348,000.

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“After three straight weekly increases, new jobless claims have finally moved to the bottom,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate. “The drop in seasonally adjusted new claims from 38,000 to 326,000 leaves them slightly above the pandemic era a month ago.”

Continuing claims fell to a pandemic-era low of 2.714 million for the week ended September 25, down from the previous week’s revised upwards of 2.811 million. Analysts had forecast a reading of 2.78 million.

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The further decline in continued claims comes less than three weeks after the end of $300 per week in supplemental unemployment benefits.

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About 4.17 million Americans received some form of unemployment aid, a decrease of more than 854,000 from the previous week. More than 24.6 million Americans applied for benefits during the comparable week in 2020.

The better-than-expected report sets the stage for September’s non-farm payrolls report which is due out on Friday. Economists expect 500,000 Americans to get jobs last month, as the unemployment rate fell to 5.1%. This would be an improvement over the 235,000 jobs added in August.