1st Time Unemployment Claims Increase

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 214,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended December 15, an INCREASE of 8.000 from the prior week’s unrevised report.
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims FELL 2,750 to 222,000;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.142 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.143 the previous week.
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,688,000 for the week ended December 8, UP 27,000 from the previous week’s upwardly REVISED 1,661,000 (from 1,631,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 750 to 1,665,750.


  • From mid-November to mid-December, first-time claims FELL 11,000; the four-week moving average of first-time claims ROSE 3,250
  • Year-to-date, first-time claims are down 4.9 percent from the same period last year.
  • The increase in first-time claims followed two week-week decline;

Data Source: Department of Labor

How Scrooge-like.

As we head into Christmas week, the number of first time claims for unemployment insurance (translation: layoffs) rose, meaning at least 214,000 individuals (and their families) face the prospect of a bleak holiday season.

But, unsentimental businesses — recommendations from HR professionals notwithstanding – don’t look at the calendar when making financial decisions (see GM layoff plans), Those same businesses can’t control externalities such as the California camp fire. Indeed, layoffs –claims – in the Golden State increased almost one thousand (not seasonally adjusted in the last week while first-time claims in Massachusetts rose by slightly more than 1,000.

That’s said, first time claims in Illinois and Michigan fell 1,911 and 1,423 respectively.

With economists warning of the onset of a recession, those declines could become fewer and fewer and, at the same time, falling stock prices could touch off a scramble to improve profits by reducing expenses translated as jobs.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

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