1st Time Unemployment Claims Fall While Continued Claims Rise

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 239,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended November 19, DOWN 10,000 from the prior week;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended November 11was REVISED DOWN to 249,000 from the initially reported 252,000;
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims ROSE 1250 to 297,750, the third straight weekly increase;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.155 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – reported on a one-week lag – was UP 36,000 for the week ended November 11 to 1,804,000, precisely the level of the week ended October 28;
  • The four-week moving average of continuing claims ROSE 1,000 to 1,890,000 – the first increase since the week ended September 9, 2017

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The labor picture remained stable heading into the Thanksgiving holiday with both initial and continued claims bouncing within a narrow range as reported  Wednesday by the Department of Labor. The report’s Thursday release was moved up one day due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

The holiday, as all holidays do, should complicate analysis the claims data as state workers work a short week and are not in place to process even electronic filings.

The report on first-time filings suggests good news in the Employment Situation report to be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on December 8. From mid=October to mid-November the four-week moving average of first-time claims dropped 9,250 or 3.7percent. When the four-week moving average fell 7.6 percent a month ago, the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent, lowest since December 2000 when it was 3.9 percent.

The indicator for new jobs – continued claims – is reported on a one-week lag so mid-month comparisons are not yet available.

Holiday retail activity, forecast to increase about four percent from last year may show up in revised hiring opportunities for retailers though several major retailers announced plans to scale back or pass on hiring for the holiday shopping season.

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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