First-time claims for unemployment insurance continued their decline last week, hitting another pandemic-era low in a sign that the labor market is gradually improving.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that jobless claims hit 709,000 for the week ended Nov. 7, down from 757,000 the week before.

This marked the fourth consecutive week that the total declined from the previous period, though claims remain above the pre-pandemic record 695,000 in 1982.

In addition to the decline in the weekly pace, continuing claims also again saw a significant decline, falling to 6.79 million, a 436,000 decrease from a week ago. Continuing claims run a week behind the headline number.