The Labor Department released the weekly unemployment insurance report that found claims rose by 10,000 to 247,000 for the week ending January 7. That came in lower than the 255,000 estimate, but the prior week was revised higher by 2,000 to 237,000.
No state was triggered “on” the Extended Benefits program during the week ending December 24 and there were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. While the report marks 97 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970, it is also true that long-term unemployment and decreased participation has reduced the eligible pool of applicants.
The four-week moving average–which is widely seen as a better gauge–was 256,500, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 1,500 from 256,750 to 258,250.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending December 24 were in Alaska (4.8), Montana (2.8), New Jersey (2.6), Puerto Rico (2.6), Connecticut (2.4), Illinois (2.4), Pennsylvania (2.4), Massachusetts (2.3), Minnesota (2.3), California (2.2), and Wyoming (2.2).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 31 were in New Jersey (+8,222), Pennsylvania (+4,448), Michigan (+3,964), Connecticut (+3,304), and Massachusetts (+3,020), while the largest decreases were in California (-14,836), Illinois (-2,347), Texas (-2,005), Washington (-1,308), and Kansas (-1,040).