Jobless Claims Rise After Four Consecutive Declines


For the week ending November 14, weekly initial jobless claims rose for the first time since early October. Continuing claims, which lag initial jobless claims by one week, continued a downward trend for the week ending November 7. The labor market has been recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic gradually for the past seven months. Looking forward, the path to recovery is uncertain as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in all 50 states and Washington, D.C..

According to the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report released by the U.S. Department of Labor today, the number of initial jobless claims rose by 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 742,000 for the week ending November 14. It marks the first increase after four consecutive weeks of declines. This week’s initial jobless claims were 89% lower than the peak of 7 million and 163% higher than the pre-pandemic level of 0.3 million in the week ending March 14.  The 35-week’s total jobless claims reached 68.2 million. The four-week moving average decreased to 742,000, from a revised average of 755,750 in the previous week.

The number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (in regular state programs), known as continuing claims, decreased by 429,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 6,372,000 in the week ending November 7. It is the tenth 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 7,054,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 7,579,500. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point to 4.3% for the week ending November 7. The previous week’s rate was unrevised.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, states’ regular unemployment insurance claims decreased by 383,282 to 6,454,659 in the week ending October 31. Meanwhile, the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program declined by 751,480, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program increased by 233,458.

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 743,460 in the week ending November 14, an increase of 18,344 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 14. California, Massachusetts and Illinois had the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 158,989 initial claims, followed by Massachusetts with 52,103 initial claims and Illinois with 46,526 initial claims. Wyoming, Vermont and South Dakota had the least advanced initial claims across all the states.

Out of all 50 states, 29 states reported increases in advanced initial claims for the week ending November 14. Louisiana, Massachusetts and Texas had the largest increases in advanced initial claims. Louisiana reported an increase of 32,679 advanced initial claims, Massachusetts increased by 9,303 and Texas increased by 4,393.  Illinois (-20,632), Florida (-9,865), and New Jersey (-8,689) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.

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