New Unemployment Insurance Claims Drop but Continued Claims Shoot Up

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 214,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended January 4, 2020, a DECREASE of9,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 223,000 (from 222000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims FELL 9,500 to 224000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.144 percent of employment, UP from 0.142 percent one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,803,000 for the week ended December 28, UP 75,000 from the previous week’s UNREVISED 1,728,000;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 33,000 to 1,744,750.


  • The number of initial claims for unemployment fell for the fourth straight week for the first time since March-April last year;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time unemployment insurance claims fell for the first time in five weeks;
  • The week-week increase in continued unemployment insurance claims was the largest since the week ended November 28, 2015 when continued claims rose 80,000.

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment great depression

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell back for the fourth straight week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, returning to the recent normal range.

But, the lasting nature of those who lost their jobs in the preceding four weeks showed up in continued claims which jumped 75,000 to the highest level since April 2018.

The job losses came largely in California in the wake of wildfires ravaging that state.

The Labor Department report will have no impact on the Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics due Friday.

That report is expected to continue to show strength. The monthly report from payroll processing firm ADP showed an increase of 202,000 private sector jobs in December. At the same time, the government has begun adding Census workers which should show up as a jump in federal employment in December.

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. 7

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