BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Weekly jobless claims hit a stunning low: 199,000, a number not seen since 1969.

"In a variety of ways it is a very, very good sign," said local economist Kamran Afshar.

The low number of claims suggests the jobs market is much stronger than it might appear, Afshar said.

"Although we have a very large number of people, largest ever, quitting their jobs. It's not that they're going jobless, they're switching," Afshar said.

There is no one particular reason for the stunning drop, but the tight labor market has significantly reduced the number of layoffs.

"Employers started to provide incentives, fringe benefits, other things to attract people to jobs, and slowly it dawned on them, if I do this to my current employees maybe they will stick around longer," Afshar said.

"I think employers are doing what they need to do in order to attract employees. Raising wages, improving benefits," said economist Ahmed Rahman, with Lehigh University.

Rahman expects the recovery to continue, although at a slower pace compared to demand.

"It seems we've come back in an extraordinary manner - so that's the positive side. Of course, there's always a negative side and that negative side is simply that we are now 3 million jobs fewer than we were at the start of the pandemic," Rahman said.

"My expectations are we are going to see the economy grow at a much faster pace in the 4th quarter and hopefully the first quarter of next year, however these low initial claims, I don't think it will be repeated," Afshar said.

DISCLAIMER FOR COMMENTS: The views expressed by public comments are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links, images, GIFs, inappropriate language, or memes may be removed by the moderator. Job listings and similar posts are likely automated SPAM messages from Facebook and are not placed by WFMZ-TV.