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Jobless Claims Drop Tops Expectations

January 10, 2019

In the week ending January 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 216,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 2,000 from 231,000 to 233,000. The 4-week moving average was 221,750, an increase of 2,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 500 from 218,750 to 219,250.

Investors were looking for initial claims to declining to 225,000 in the latest week.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending December 29, unchanged from the previous week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 29 was 1,722,000, a decrease of 28,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 10,000 from 1,740,000 to 1,750,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,721,250, an increase of 15,250 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 2,500 from 1,703,500 to 1,706,000.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 348,709 in the week ending January 5, an increase of 21,208 (or 6.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 48,717 (or 14.9 percent) from the previous week. There were 403,619 initial claims in the comparable week in 2018.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.5 percent during the week ending December 29, an increase of 0.2 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,079,861, an increase of 281,123 (or 15.6 percent) from the preceding week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 314,954 (or 17.5 percent) from the previous week. A year earlier the rate was 1.6 percent and the volume was 2,301,682.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending December 22 was 1,827,272, an increase of 33,384 from the previous week. There were 2,104,344 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2017.

No state was triggered "on" the Extended Benefits program during the week ending December 22.

Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 4,760 in the week ending December 29, an increase of 3,831 from the prior week. There were 327 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 167 from the preceding week.

There were 11,375 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending December 22, an increase of 840 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 6,525, a decrease of 322 from the prior week.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending December 22 were in Alaska (3.3), Connecticut (2.2), New Jersey (2.2), Montana (2.0), Illinois (1.9), Massachusetts (1.9), Minnesota (1.9), Pennsylvania (1.9), California (1.8), Puerto Rico (1.8), Rhode Island (1.8), and Washington (1.8).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 29 were in Michigan (+7,997), New Jersey (+7,845), Pennsylvania (+7,367), Connecticut (+5,472), and Ohio (+4,835), while the largest decreases were in California (-10,107), Texas (-4,804), North Carolina (-1,667), Florida (-1,315), and Arizona (-970).

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