Initial Jobless Claims Fall Below 1 Million for the First Time Since Mid-March

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Weekly initial jobless claims decreased below 1 million in the week ending August 8. Continuing claims, which lags initial jobless claims by one week, has declined for two weeks in a row. It is encouraging to see decreases in both jobless claims and continuing claims. More people are returning to work and the labor market is recovering gradually from the COVID-19 crisis.

The U.S. Department of Labor released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report for the week ending August 8. The number of initial jobless claims fell by 228,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 963,000, from the previous week’s revised level of 1,191,000 claims. It is the lowest level since the week ending March 14 when the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown started and marks the first time in 20 weeks that initial jobless claims fell below 1 million. Weekly new claims brought the 21-week’s total to 56.3 million. The four-week moving average decreased to 1,252,750, from a revised average of 1,339,000 in the previous week.

Meanwhile, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (in regular state programs), known as continuing claims, decreased by 604,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 15,486,000 in the week ending August 1. The four-week moving average declined to 16,169,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 16,624,000. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate declined by 0.4 percentage point to 10.6% for the week ending August 1. The previous week’s rate was unrevised.

The U.S. Department of Labor also released the advanced number of actual initial claims under state programs without seasonal adjustments. The unadjusted number of advanced initial claims totaled 831,856 in the week ending August 8, a decrease of 156,453 from the previous week.

The chart below presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending August 8. California, Georgia and Florida had the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 213,482 initial claims, followed by Georgia with 62,279 initial claims and Florida with 55,106 initial claims. Meanwhile, South Dakota, Vermont and North Dakota had the least advanced initial claims across all the states.

Compared to the previous week, Nevada, Puerto Rico and Kansas had the largest increases in advanced initial claims for the week ending August 8. Nevada reported an increase of 6,915 advanced initial claims. Puerto Rico increased by 3,510 and Kansas increased by 2,384. Florida (-23,180), New York (-21,905) and Georgia (-11,652) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.



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