Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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New Jobless Claims Continue to Slow

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time decreased last week from the previous week, according to a report released today by the Labor Department.

In the week ending October 3, the advance figure for seasonally-adjusted initial claims was 521,000, down 33,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 554,000. Economists had expected a decrease in initial claims of 11,000. The four-week moving average, which smooths out fluctuations, was 539,750 - a decrease of 9,000 from the revised reading of 548,750 in the week before.

For the for the week ending September 26, the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment was 6,040,000, a decrease of 72,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 6,112,000. The insured unemployment rate was 4.5%, down by .1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate of 4.6%, the government report stated.

But while today's report shows that the number of initial jobless claims are slowing to a ten-month low, employers remain hesitant to take on new hires and the unemployment rate is still expected to climb higher. The Labor Department reported last week that the national unemployment rate in September was 9.8%, and economists expect the unemployment rate to reach 10% or beyond before we see a recovery in the job market.

States reported 3,321,210 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending Sept. 19, an increase of 45,997 from the prior week. There were 1,140,558 claimants in the comparable week in 2008. EUC provides extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, adding 13 additional weeks of benefits after exceeding the the initial 26 weeks provided by state unemployment insurance benefits.

Puerto Rico continues to have the highest insured unemployment rate at 6.1%, followed by Oregon at 5.3%, Nevada at 5.2%, and Pennsylvania at 5%. California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arkansas, North Carolina, and South Carolina also have high insured unemployment rates at or above 4.5%.

California had the largest increase in initial claims due to continued layoffs in the construction, trade, and service industries, reporting 4,467 more new applications than in the previous week. Ohio reported 3,421 more initial claims than in the previous week, citing layoffs in the automobile and manufacturing industries, and Illinois reported 1,815 more claims than the previous week, due to layoffs in the trade and service industries.

New York reported the largest decrease in initial claims, with 2,253 fewer claims than in the week before. North Carolina reported 1,609 fewer claims and South Carolina reported 1,159 fewer claims from the previous week.

U.S. Department of Labor
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Thursday, 02 February 2023

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