Little Movement in Weekly Unemployment Claims

With a slowing economy, Americans filing weekly initial unemployment claims has shown little movement over the past several months, according to Labor Department data.

The report said for the week ending January 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims fell to 787,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level, which was revised up by 3,000 from 787,000 to 790,000. The four-week moving average fell to 818,750, a decrease of 18,750 from the previous week’s revised average.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.5 percent for the week ending December 26, unchanged from the previous week. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment—also known as continuing claims—for the week ending December 26 fell to 5,072,000, a decrease of 126,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The four-week moving average fell to 5,274,750, a decrease of 177,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 5,250 from 5,457,250 to 5,452,000.

“While claims around the holiday season are fraught with noise, the four-week average has moved higher over the past month as renewed restrictions and voluntary efforts to contain the virus weigh on the jobs market,” said Sara House, Senior Economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. “Pandemic program extensions and the $300 top-up should provide a meaningful boost to the most cash-strapped households

in the next few months, with 19.2 [million] individuals collecting benefits.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment report comes out this morning at 8:30 a.m. ET. MBA NewsLink will provide coverage, with commentary on the employment report from MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni and other analysts.

On Wednesday, ADP, Roseland, N.J., said private-sector employment increased by 307,000 jobs from October to November.