Weekly initial jobless claims declined slightly to 847,000 in the week ending January 23. Continuing claims, which lag initial jobless claims by one week, decreased by 203,000 in the week ending January 16. The labor market is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit slowly.
According to the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report released by the U.S. Department of Labor recently, the number of initial jobless claims decreased by 67,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 847,000 for the week ending January 23. It is the second week of decline after weekly jobless claims soared to 927,000 in the week ending January 9. In the week ending January 23, jobless claims were 88% lower than the peak of 7 million and four times higher than the pre-pandemic average of 0.2 million. The four-week moving average rose to 868,000, from a revised average of 851,750 in the previous week. During the past ten months, about 76.5 million jobless claims were filed.
Meanwhile, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (in regular state programs), known as continuing claims, declined by 203,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,771,000 in the week ending January 16. The four-week moving average declined to 4,998,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 5,104,750. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate declined to 3.4% for the week ending January 16, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s revised rate of 3.5%.
On a not seasonally adjusted basis, states’ regular unemployment insurance claims decreased by 281,273 to 5,446,086 in the week ending January 9. Meanwhile, the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program increased by 1,626,796, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program rose by 836,596, as both programs were extended.
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 873,966 in the week ending January 23, a decrease of 101,498 from the previous week.
The chart above presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending January 23. Illinois, Kansas and New York had the most advanced initial claims. Illinois led the way with 108,808 initial claims, followed by Kansas with 82,944 initial claims and New York with 64,793 initial claims. South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont had the least advanced initial claims.
For the week ending January 23, Florida, Illinois and Kansas had the largest increases in advanced initial claims. Florida reported an increase of 18,598 advanced initial claims, Illinois increased by 13,336 and Kansas increased by 9,875. About 80% of states reported declines in advanced initial claims. California (-63,943), Georgia (-9,255), and Texas (-8,189) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.