The U.S. Labor Department (DOL) reported initial jobless claims fell 9,000 to 214,000 for the first week of 2020 ending on January 4, again beating the forecast. The previous week’s level was revised slightly higher by 1,000 to 223,000.
Forecasts for initial jobless claims ranged from a low of 213,000 to a high of 222,000. The consensus forecast was 219,000.
The 4-week moving average was 224,000, a decrease of 9,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 233,250 to 233,500.
Lagging Jobless Claims Data
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at a very low 1.2% for the week ending December 28. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment for that week was 1,803,000, an increase of 75,000.
The 4-week moving average came in higher by 33,000 to 1,744,750, up from the previous week’s unrevised average of 1,711,750. The gains in lagging jobless claims data are from trailing previous weeks.
No state was triggered “on” the Extended Benefits program during the week ending December 21, the Labor Department said.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending December 21 were in Alaska (2.8), Connecticut (2.2), New Jersey (2.2), West Virginia (2.1), Montana (2.0), Pennsylvania (2.0), Minnesota (1.9), Washington (1.9), Illinois (1.8), Massachusetts (1.8), and Rhode Island (1.8).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 28 were in New Jersey (+9,854), Michigan (+8,058), Pennsylvania (+6,185), Ohio (+5,309), and Massachusetts (+3,967), while the largest decreases were in California (-15,642), Texas (-3,642), Florida (-1,530), North Carolina (-1,460), and Arizona (-1,139).