Weekly initial jobless claims increased for the past two consecutive weeks and reached the highest level in one month in the week ending February 13, despite the decreases in the number of COVID-19 cases. The labor market is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the road is proving to be long.
The U.S. Department of Labor released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report today. The number of initial jobless claims increased by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 861,000 for the week ending February 13. The prior week’s jobless claims were, unfortunately, upwardly revised to 848,000, from 793,000. Over the past six months, every week about 0.8 million initial jobless claims were filed. In the week ending February 13, jobless claims were 87% 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 declined slightly to 833,250, from a revised average of 836,750 in the previous week. The 48-week’s total jobless claims reached 78.9 million.
Meanwhile, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (in regular state programs), known as continuing claims, declined by 64,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,494,000 in the week ending February 6. The four-week moving average declined to 4,632,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 4,752,250.
On a not seasonally adjusted basis, states’ regular unemployment insurance claims decreased by 153,878 to 5,003,107 in the week ending January 30. Meanwhile, the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program decreased by 258,059, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program decreased by 718,036.
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 862,351 in the week ending February 13, a decrease of 5,702 from the previous week.
The chart above presents the top 10 states ranked by the number of advanced initial claims for the week ending February 13. California, Ohio, and Illinois had the most advanced initial claims. California led the way with 158,596 initial claims, followed by Ohio with 146,426 initial claims and Illinois with 67,750 initial claims. South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont had the least advanced initial claims.
For the week ending February 13, Illinois, California, and Virginia had the largest increases in advanced initial claims. Illinois reported an increase of 33,491 advanced initial claims, California increased by 20,657 and Virginia increased by 7,064. Meanwhile, about 74% of the states reported declines in advanced initial claims. Texas (-12,428), Rhode Island (-6,269), and Georgia (-5,882) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.