Notwithstanding the expanding spread of the COVID Delta variant and the ongoing difficulties with getting the economy completely opened up again – let alone the continuing labor shortage – first-time unemployment claims dropped last week to 340,000, the lowest level since the pandemic hit in March of 2020. This Department of Labor (DOL) report comes just before the monthly jobs report which is due out this morning. Economists expect today’s report to show 725,000 jobs added in August as the economy continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, this weekend federal pandemic unemployment bonus programs including the additional $300 per week expire on Monday and although some states may use COVID relief funds to provide additional unemployment assistance, the Biden administration has said that it will not extend the enhanced unemployment aid program any further. Hopefully, the expiration of the unemployment premium will quickly lead to an easing in the ongoing labor shortage.