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US Jobless Claims Down Slightly Despite COVID Uptick

In the week ending Oct. 31 jobless claims were 751,000, dropping 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported Thursday (Nov. 5). This is the eighth consecutive week unemployment filings went down since the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. in March and the tenth week below 1 million.

The DOL also reported that the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 5.0 percent for the week ending Oct. 24, a decrease of 0.3 from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

During the same time period, seasonally adjusted unemployment was 7,285,000 a decrease of 538,000 from the previous week’s revised level.

“Overall, the economy appears to be losing a bit of momentum,” Jay Bryson, economist for Wells Fargo Securities said, per Yahoo Finance. “Jobless claims have improved recently but remain elevated.”

Weekly unemployment claims for new benefits fell below 800,000 last month for the first time in since March. Although still comparatively high, it is a far cry from the peak of nearly 7 million when lockdowns were first rolled out at the end of March.

During the week ending Oct 17, filings for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance were made by 9.3 million people. Some 3.9 million people claimed Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending Oct. 17 were in Hawaii (11.3), the Virgin Islands (9.6), California (9.5), Nevada (9.2), New Mexico (9.0), Georgia (7.6), Puerto Rico (7.6), District of Columbia (7.1), Massachusetts (6.9) and Louisiana (6.8).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Oct. 24 were in Illinois (+6,190), Michigan (+5,442), Massachusetts (+2,483), Minnesota (+1,848), and Connecticut (+1,621), while the largest decreases were in Texas (-10,113), California (-7,700), Florida (-6,528), New York (-3,291) and Louisiana (-3,096).

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