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Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeNewsEconomyLabor: Weekly Jobless Claims Fall, But Miss Views

Labor: Weekly Jobless Claims Fall, But Miss Views


Unemployed Americans wait in line for to fill out applications for jobless benefits. (Photo: Reuters)

Weekly jobless claims, or the number of Americans filing for first-time state unemployment benefits, fell by 10,000 to 277,000 for the week ended Jan. 2. The data came in higher than the median forecast of 275,000, while the prior week was unrevised at 287,000.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims.

The 4-week moving average–which is widely considered a better gauge of labor market conditions, as it irons-out volatility–came in at 275,750, a decline of 1,250 from the previous week’s upwardly revised average of 277,000. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,750 from 2,220,250 to 2,222,000.

Still, the number of jobless claims is impacted by the number of eligible applicants and, with long-term unemployment a chronic problem, the untold story is just how few eligible applicants remain in the pool at this point.

The Labor Department said the advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 405,122 in the week ending January 2, an increase of 58,580 (16.9%) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 74,423 (21.5%) from the previous week.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending December 19 were in Alaska (4.3), New Jersey (2.7), Montana (2.6), Puerto Rico (2.6), Pennsylvania (2.5), West Virginia (2.5), Connecticut (2.3), Illinois (2.3), Nevada (2.3), and Massachusetts (2.2).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 26 were in New Jersey (+6,935), Michigan (+6,348), Kentucky (+5,497), Pennsylvania (+5,350), and Ohio (+3,901), while the largest decreases were in California (-9,900), Texas (-5,083), Florida (-2,474), North Carolina (-1,460), and Colorado (-1,272).

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