First-time Unemployment insurance Claims Fall but Continued Claims Increase;

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 216,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended February 29, 2020, a DROP of3,000from the previous week’s unrevised 219,000;
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims ROSE3,250 to 213,000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.136 percent of employment, UPfrom 0.134one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,729,000 for the week ended February 22, UP 7,000 from the previous week’s DOWNWARDLY REVISED 1,722,000 (from 1,724,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 7,000 to 1,721,250

Trends:

  • First-time claims FELL for the first time in four weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims for unemployment insurance rose for the first time in five weeks;
  • The mid-month four-week moving average of continued claims for unemployment insurance fell for the first time since last September suggesting it has become easier for persons on unemployment insurance to find a new job.

Data Source: Department of Labor https://oui.doleta.gov/press/2020/0305

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell for first time in four weeks while the second straight week while continued claims rose the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

While one week doesn’t indicate a trend, taken together the two datasets hint at a tightening of the robust labor market, suggesting the Corona Virus may be starting to have some impact on labor data.

[“Continued claims” refers to unemployed workers who qualify for benefits under unemployment insurance. In order to be included in continued claims, the person must have been covered by unemployment insurance and be currently receiving benefits.]

The report Thursday came as the number of Corona Virus on the United States continues to grow along with suggestions the disease could lead to a recession in the United States

Thursday’s report came one day before the Bureau oi Labor Statistics is scheduled to release the Employment Situation report for February. That report is expected to show a gain of 175,000 jobs in February including temporary jobs with the Census Bureau

From mid-January to mid-February, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 12,000 and the four-week moving average of continued claims fell 8,000, both data points supporting another increase in jobs in the Employment Situation report. Continued claims fell 14,000 and the four-week moving average of continued claims fell 26,750 indicating a significant number of those who had been collecting unemployment insurance were successful in searching for a new job.

You can hear Mark Lieberman’s analysis of the monthly Employment Situation report tomorrow, March 6 at 8:40 am on POTUS’ Morning Briefing, Sirius-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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