1st Time Unemployment Claims Drop to 45-Year Low

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 220,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended January 13, a DROP of 41,000 from the prior week;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended January 6 was UNCHANGED at 261,000
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims FELL 6,250 to 244,500;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.159percent of employment, DOWN from 0.163 percent one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – reported on a one-week lag – for the week ended January 6 was 1,952,000, UP 76,000 from the previous week;
  • The four-week moving average of continuing claims INCREASED 4,000 to 1,921,000;

Data Source: Department of Labor


  • 1st time claims for unemployment insurance dropped top their lowest level in 44 years: week ended February 24, 2973 when 218,000 were filed;
  • The 41,000 week-week decline was the largest since the week ended February 6, 2010 when the number of filings fell 42,000 from the previous week.

With most holiday related layoffs behind them employers could turn back to the concept of right-sizing which would mean holding onto experienced, accomplished staff.

That seems to be exactly what happened in the first full week of 2018 – with one caveat: the week included a run-up to a three-day weekend, never the best time to make personnel moves.

Holidays do of course complicate economic data reports so again, we don’t expect labor movements to be easy to interpret for a few weeks.

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. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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