According to the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report released by the U.S. Department of Labor today, weekly initial jobless claims decreased slightly for the week ending October 3, and continuing claims, which lag initial jobless claims by one week, fell sharply for the week ending September 26. The data indicate that labor market continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit slowly. While some workers are rehired, many temporary layoffs are becoming permanent during the COVID-19 recession.
In the week ending October 3, the number of initial jobless claims decreased by 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 840,000, from the previous week’s revised level. This week’s initial jobless claims were 88% lower than the peak of 7 million but 198% higher than the pre-pandemic level of 0.3 million in the week ending March 14. This week’s new claims brought the 29-week’s total to 63.6 million. The four-week moving average decreased to 857,000, from a revised average of 870,250 in the previous week.
Meanwhile, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (in regular state programs), known as continuing claims, decreased by about 1 million to a seasonally adjusted level of 10,976,000 in the week ending September 26. It is the fourth consecutive decrease and the lowest level after continuing claims hit 24.9 million in the early of May. The four-week moving average declined to 12,112,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 12,754,250. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate decreased by 0.7 percentage point to 7.5% for the week ending September 26. The previous week’s rate was revised up by 0.1 percentage point from 8.1% to 8.2%.
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 804,307 in the week ending October 3, an increase of 5,312 from the previous week.
The chart below presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending October 3. California, New York and Georgia had the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 226,179 initial claims, followed by New York with 66,528 initial claims and Georgia with 43,874 initial claims. South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming had the least advanced initial claims across all the states.
Compared to the previous week, Florida, Illinois and Virginia had the largest increases in advanced initial claims for the week ending October 3. Florida reported an increase of 7,827 advanced initial claims, Illinois increased by 6,646 and Virginia increased by 3,266. New Jersey (-4,469), Michigan (-3,845), and Pennsylvania (-3,634) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.
Unemployment Insurance benefits end after 26 weeks in most if not all states. What is not shown on figure 1 is how many are still unemployed after their benefits have ran out. I do not believe this chart is a true picture of what’s going on. March 18 has been used as the date most were affected. The sharp decline as mentioned is about 6 months after March 18 (26 weeks).