Jobless Claims Continue to Decline


Weekly initial jobless claims declined slightly for the week ending November 7, and continuing claims, which lag initial jobless claims by one week, continued a downward trend for the week ending October 31. Labor market continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but the pace is slow.

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 48,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 709,000 for the week ending November 7. This week’s initial jobless claims were 90% lower than the peak of 7 million but 151% higher than the pre-pandemic level of 0.3 million in the week ending March 14.  The 34-week’s total jobless claims reached 67.4 million. The four-week moving average decreased to 755,250, from a revised average of 788,500 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 436,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 6,786,000 in the week ending October 31. It is the ninth 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 7,575,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 8,228,750. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point to 4.6% for the week ending October 31. The previous week’s rate was revised down from 5.0% to 4.9%.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, states’ regular unemployment insurance claims decreased by 598,445 to 6,837,876 in the week ending October 24. Meanwhile, the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program rose by 100,517, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program increased by 159,776.

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 723,105 in the week ending November 7, a decrease of 20,799 from the previous week.

The chart above presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending November 7. Like last week, California, Illinois and New York had the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 157,642 initial claims, followed by Illinois with 70,659 initial claims and New York with 43,876 initial claims. Vermont, South Dakota and Wyoming had the least advanced initial claims across all the states.

Meanwhile, about two thirds of the states reported declines in advanced initial claims for the week ending November 7. Georgia (-14,127), Texas (-5,179), and Kentucky (-4,979) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims. Washington, California and Massachusetts had the largest increases in advanced initial claims. Washington reported an increase of 10,381 advanced initial claims, California increased by 5,162 and Massachusetts increased by 2,799.

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