1st-time Unemployment Insurance Claims Drop;

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 211,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended November 2, 2019, a DECREASE of 8,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 219,000 (from 218,000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims INCREASED 250 to 215,250;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.138 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,689,000 for the week ended October 26, DOWN 3,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,692,000 (from 1,690,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims REMAINED at 1,86,750.

Trends:

  • First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell for the third time in the last five weeks;
  • The number of continued claims has increased year-year for five straight weeks for the first time in 10 years;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims which was unchanged has not dropped five straight weeks.

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment depression

Despite another decline in the number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance, the weekly Labor Department report continues to reflect a weakness in the labor market by detailing that those collecting unemployment benefits are unable to find jobs.

The report offered evidence to support the interpretation of the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) earlier this week. The JOLTS data showed the number of job openings fell to the lowest level in 18 months (in September) in part responsible for the relatively weak report on new October jobs.

But the decline in job openings also means those on unemployment rolls have new challenges in finding new jobs, thus the number of continued claims has not been dropping.

The two reports together underscore a skills mismatch especially as in some industry sectors the number of unemployed is rising along with the number of job openings.

You can hear Mark Lieberman Friday mornings at 6:20 am on POTUS’ Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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