Unemployment continues to go down and wages continue to go up in New Hampshire. Most everybody knows that, but statistics confirm it more than spotting help-wanted signs and hearing about bidding wars for labor.

Initial claims seem to be floating near pre-pandemic levels. For the week ending Oct. 30, some 394 Granite Staters were laid off, 36 fewer than the previous week, but 64 more than the week before that.

Continuing claims — by people collecting benefits every week — have been steadily declining. For the week ending Oct. 23, there were 2,373 such claims, a 4 percent decline from the previous week, which was 2 percent lower than the week before that — and that number was 20 percent lower than the previous month

Nationally, claims continue to fall as well. There were, 269,000 new claims, another new pandemic low. And there was a drop of continuing claims 2.1 million, about 120,000 decline, following a 250,000 decline.

Wages continue to climb. The average annual earnings for September (the most recent data available) was $31.81, a 50-cent increase in one month, and more than $2 since last year. Health and education workers received the biggest monthly boost, 87 cents an hour, reflecting the worker scarcity in that industry. Manufacturing workers got 53 cents, while hourly wages for trade, transportation and utility workers (retail and warehouse workers, among others) saw a 40-cent increase. The wages for people in professional and business services (mainly people who work in offices) actually went down a penny.

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