1st Time Unemployment Claims Increase as Holiday Jobs Ends

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 261,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended January 6, an INCREASE of 11,000 from the prior week;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended December 30 was UNCHANGED at 225,000
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims ROSE 9,000 to 250,750;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.163 percent of employment, UP from 0.157 percent one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – reported on a one-week lag – for the week ended December 30 was 1,867,000, DOWN 35,000 from the previous week;
  • The four-week moving average of continuing claims DECREASED 5,500 to 1,913,250;

Data Source: Department of Labor

Trends

  • 1st time claims for unemployment insurance have increased for four straight weeks with weekly filings increasing 36,000 in that period;
  • The four-week moving average rose for the third consecutive week, up 14,000 or 5.9 percent over that period
  • Four-week moving average of first time claims as a percentage of total employment rose to its highest level since the beginning of October;
  • Continued claims fell to the lowest level in almost 45 years;

The turn of the calendar typically brings with a slight bump up in unemployment insurance claims as those who were hired for the holiday season lose their jobs. The phenomenon also makes the claims data somewhat unreliable at this time of the year.

Compounding the analytical challenge for January claims data will be the Martin Luther King Day observance next week. Although claims can be filed electronically, state workers will have one day less to process those claims.

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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