Jobless Claims Decline Slightly


Weekly initial jobless claims declined slightly for the week ending October 31, and continuing claims, which lag initial jobless claims by one week, continued a downward trend for the week ending October 24. The modest decreases in initial and continuing claims reflect that 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 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 751,000 for the week ending October 31. This week’s initial jobless claims were 89% lower than the peak of 7 million but 166% higher than the pre-pandemic level of 0.3 million in the week ending March 14.  The 33-week’s total jobless claims reached 66.7 million. The four-week moving average decreased to 787,000, from a revised average of 791,000 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 538,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 7,285,000 in the week ending October 24. It is the eighth 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 8,244,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 9,071,750. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point to 5.0% for the week ending October 24. The previous week’s rate was unrevised.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, states’ regular unemployment insurance claims decreased by 601,929 to 7,436,246 in the week ending October 17. Meanwhile, the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program decreased by 992,169, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program increased by 277,564.

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 738,166 in the week ending October 31, barely changed from the previous week.

The chart above presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending October 31. Like last week, California, Illinois and New York had the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 152,428 initial claims, followed by Illinois with 76,338 initial claims and New York with 45,391 initial claims. Vermont, South Dakota and Wyoming had the least advanced initial claims across all the states.

Meanwhile, more than half of the states reported declines in advanced initial claims for the week ending October 31. Massachusetts (-9,055), Georgia (-7,057), and New York (-6,208) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims. Illinois, Kentucky and Kansas had the largest increases in advanced initial claims. Illinois reported an increase of 23,200 advanced initial claims, Kentucky increased by 3,657 and Kansas increased by 3,471.

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