Unemployment insurance Claims Drop to 7-Month Low

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 203,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended November 30, 2019, a DECREASE of10,000from the previous week’s unrevised 213,000;
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims FELL 2,000 to 217,750;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.139 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.140 percent one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,693,000 for the week ended November 23, UP 51,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,642,000 (from 1,640,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims was UNCHANGED at 1,681,000.


  • The number of first-time claims fell for the second straight week. The two-week drop of 25,000 was the largest two-week decline since initial claims fell 40,000 in the two weeks ended September 16, 2017;
  • The number of first-time claims fell to the lowest level since April (193,000);
  • The 51,000 jump in continued claims was the largest since claims jumped 54,000 in February of this year;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims has dropped only once in the last nine weeks.

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment depression

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to the lowest level since April for the week ended November 30, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

While certainly a positive sign for the cranky labor market, the numbers were likely affected by the Thanksgiving holiday, with government bureaucrats who process claims enjoying a four-day weekend. Even as claims may have been filed electronically, final processing would have been delayed.

The report of initial claims will have no impact on the Employment Situation release scheduled for Friday but mid-month comparisons, along with the monthly report from payroll processor ADP suggest the jobs report for November may show some weakness.

From mid-October to mid-November, the number of initial claims rose 10,000 and the four-week moving average of first-time claims rose 5,500. Both mid-month measures increased for the first time in more than seven years when it resulted in a sharp drop in the number of people employed (although the unemployment rate remained unchanged).

The mid-month claims data as well are complicated by the recently settled UAW strike which led to a sharp jump in unemployment insurance claims in mid-November.

Forecasters are braced for relatively weak jobs numbers on the heels of Wednesday’s ADP report which showed an increase of 67,000 private-sector jobs in November compared with a monthly average of 160,000 for the first 10 months of the year.

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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