Unemployment insurance Claims Increase

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 211,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended January 18, 2020, an INCREASE of6,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 205,000 (from 204.000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims FELL 3,250 to 213,350;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.136 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.138 percent one week earlier;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,767,000 for the week ended January 11, DOWN 37,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,768,000 (from 1,767,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 2,000 to 1,757,750.

Trends:

  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims for unemployment insurance FELL for the third straight week;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims for unemployment insurance ROSE for the sixth straight week and has increased in 14 of the last 16 weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims rose to its HIGHEST LEVEL since May 2018

Data Source: Department of Labor

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First-time claims for unemployment insurance blipped up by 6,000 during the week ended January 18, the only blemish in an otherwise positive report on unemployment insurance claims, the Department of Labor reported Thursday.

In another positive development, the Labor Department reported a drop in continued claims for unemployment insurance implying improvement in hiring prospects for long term unemployed. That’s a reversal from two weeks ago when continued claims jumped more than 4 percent, the largest week-week increase since the week ended November 3, 2012

The sharp jump in continued claims followed an equally sharp increase in first-time claims which rose 49,000 in the week ending last December 3, primarily due to California wildfires.

This week’s report offered a first glimpse at indicators for the February 7 Employment Situation release indicating first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose 23,000 from mid-December to mid-January but the four-week moving average fell 12,500 from mid-December to mid-January. That movement suggests little if any change to the 3.5 percent unemployment rate.

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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