Jobless claims filed 779,000 new unemployment claims last week

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 4, 2021)—the weekly unemployment job claims  report was released from the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday.  As expected layoffs and job losses steadied, but remained at historically elevated levels during the China’s ongoing pandemic.  Below are the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Initial jobless claims, week ended Jan. 30: 779,000 vs. 830,000 expected and a revised 812,000 during the prior week

  • Continuing claims, week ended Jan. 9: 4.592 million vs. 4.700 million expected and a revised 4.785 million during the prior week

Initial jobless claims unexpectedly fell to a two-month low and dipped below 900,000 for a second straight week. Though initial claims spiked through most of December and January, they have started to come back down as states eased some restrictions put in place during the holiday COVID-19 spike in new cases.

“The data continue to signal weakness in the labor market, although a lack of sustained increases in recent weeks is a surprising and positive sign,” Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist for High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note on Wednesday. “As states continue to relax restrictions, claims should stabilize at lower levels.”

According to the data by state, new jobless claims in Illinois tumbled by 55,000 during the week ended January 30th, on an unadjusted basis.  Kansas and Texas followed by a wide margin, with new claims last week in each of those states falling 8,500.  In California a number of new claims was filed increasing filings to 46,000.

The number of Americans receiving benefits via regular state programs, fell for a third straight week during the period ending January 22nd.  These claims have come down sharply from a pandemic-era peak of nearly 25 million in May, but are still well above the 2019 average of 1.7 million per week.  Former President Donald J. Trump predicted that the economy would improve once the state’s lift the unnecessary lockdown of businesses and schools.  The unemployment filings indicates that the Trump’s economy left behind for President Joe Biden is ready to burst if not drastically changed.  

The latest data showed that more than 17.8 million Americans were still claiming unemployment benefits of some form, with the majority of these comprising claimants on federal pandemic-era programs.  Those on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which offers jobless insurance to gig workers and others who not qualify for regular state benefits, decreased by about 126,000 to 7.2 million for the week ended January 16th.  Those on extended Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation decreased by about 290,000 to 3.6 million.

Source: Bloomberg contributed to this article.

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