Initial Jobless Claims Fall to 787,000


Weekly initial jobless claims decreased for the week ending October 17, and continuing claims, which lag initial jobless claims by one week, fell for the week ending October 10. The decreases in initial and continuing claims partially reflect that labor market continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit slowly.

Also, as unemployment benefits are expiring, claimants may move to different unemployment assistance programs, resulting in the decreases in jobless claims. For example, some may shift from states’ regular unemployment insurance system to pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. For the week ending October 3, the number of persons claiming for PEUC was about 3.3 million on a not seasonally adjusted basis. It has increased for seven straight weeks since the week ending August 22 with 1.4 million.

According to the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report released by the U.S. Department of Labor today, the number of initial jobless claims decreased by 55,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 787,000 for the week ending October 17. This week’s initial jobless claims were 179% higher than the pre-pandemic level of 0.3 million in the week ending March 14, and it brought the 31-week’s total to 65.2 million. The four-week moving average decreased to 811,250, from a revised average of 832,750 in the previous week.

In addition to the decline in initial jobless claims, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (in regular state programs), known as continuing claims, decreased by 1 million to a seasonally adjusted level of 8,373,000 in the week ending October 10. It is the sixth consecutive decline in continuing claims and marks the lowest level after continuing claims hit 24.9 million in the early of May. The four-week moving average declined to 10,085,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 11,179,250. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate decreased by 0.7 percentage point to 5.7% for the week ending October 10. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.4 percentage point from 6.8% to 6.4%.

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 756,617 in the week ending October 17, a decrease of 73,125 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 17. California, New York and Texas had the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 158,877 initial claims, followed by New York with 56,483 initial claims and Texas with 50,819 initial claims. South Dakota, Vermont and North Dakota had the least advanced initial claims across all the states.

Meanwhile, more than two third of states reported declines in advanced initial claims for the week ending October 17. California (-17,206), Florida (-11,944), and Georgia (-10,131) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims. Texas, Massachusetts and Virginia had the largest increases in advanced initial claims. Texas reported an increase of 6,127 advanced initial claims, Massachusetts increased by 4,556 and Virginia increased by 4,389.


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