Jobless Claims Fall Slightly

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Weekly initial jobless claims declined slightly in the week ending February 6. Continuing claims, which lag initial jobless claims by one week, decreased by 145,000 in the week ending January 30. The labor market is continuing to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but at a slow pace.

The U.S. Department of Labor released the Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims Report today. The number of initial jobless claims decreased by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 793,000 for the week ending February 6. The previous week’s level was revised up to 812,000. Weekly jobless claims have trended down since the week ending January 21, but they remained at historically high levels. In the week ending February 6, jobless claims were 88% lower than the peak of 7 million and about four times higher than the pre-pandemic average of 0.2 million. The four-week moving average declined to 823,000, from a revised average of 856,500 in the previous week. The 47-week’s total jobless claims reached 78.0 million.

Meanwhile, the number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (in regular state programs), known as continuing claims, declined by 145,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,545,000 in the week ending January 30. The four-week moving average declined to 4,748,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 4,906,250. The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage point to 3.2% for the week ending January 30.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, states’ regular unemployment insurance claims decreased by 32,295 to 5,155,916 in the week ending January 23. Meanwhile, the number of persons claiming unemployment insurance benefits in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program rose by 1,496,505, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program decreased by 1,172,948.

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 813,145 in the week ending February 6, a decrease of 36,534 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 6. Ohio, California, and New York had the most advanced initial claims. Ohio led the way with 137,938 initial claims, followed by California with 132,839 initial claims and New York with 57,566 initial claims. South Dakota, Wyoming and Vermont had the least advanced initial claims.

For the week ending February 6, Ohio, California, and Mississippi also had the largest increases in advanced initial claims. Ohio reported an increase of 90,117 advanced initial claims, California increased by 23,588 and Mississippi increased by 3,109. Meanwhile, about 70% of the states reported declines in advanced initial claims. Florida (-51,519), New York (-19,824), and Maryland (-19,736) had the largest decreases in advanced initial claims.



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