Unemployment Claims Remain Elevated
Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 26,000 from the week before, the Labor Department reported yesterday, but remain elevated in the wake of economic instability resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
The report said for the week ending January 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims fell to 900,000, a decrease of 26,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 39,000 from 965,000 to 926,000. The four-week moving average rose to 848,000, an increase of 23,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 9,750 from 834,250 to 824,500.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent for the week ending January 9. The previous week’s rate was revised down by 0.1 from 3.7 to 3.6 percent. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending January 9—also known as continuing claims—fell to 5,054,000, a decrease of 127,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 90,000 from 5,271,000 to 5,181,000. The four-week moving average fell to 5,126,250, a decrease of 67,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 22,500 from 5,215,750 to 5,193,250.
“The larger-than-expected decline in initial jobless claims last week is a welcome development, but at 900,000, new filings remain elevated,” said Sarah House, Senioe Economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. “Another negative print for payrolls in January remains within the realm of possibility.”
House noted the total number of claims recipients across all programs fell to 16 million the week ending Jan. 2, the most recent week available. “However, with new claims having moved up in recent weeks and more generous weekly payments following the December relief bill, we expect to see the pace of improvement slow,” she said.