Initial jobless claims, week ended Oct. 17: 787,000 vs. 870,000 expected and a downwardly revised 842,000 during the prior week
Continuing jobless claims, week ended Oct. 10: 8.373 million vs. 9.625 million expected and a downwardly revised 9.397 million during the prior week
At 787,000 new jobless claims came in below 1 million for an eighth straight week, but at a level that still handily topped the pre-pandemic one-week record of 671,000 from 1982.
The improvement came even as California – the most populous state, and one that had previously contributed significantly to increases in new jobless claims – resumed reporting new claims to the national total. Unadjusted claims in California in fact fell by 17,206 during the week ended Oct. 17 to 158,877. While this was still the highest among all states, it marked an improvement from the more than 200,000 claims the state was reporting as recently as last month.
The majority of U.S. states reported declines in unadjusted new claims last week, with Florida, Georgia and New York also reporting significant steps down initial filings. Texas, Massachusetts and Virginia, however, still reported notable increases in new claims.
Meanwhile, continuing claims, which measure the number of individuals still receiving state unemployment insurance benefits, also fell more than expected to below 9 million.
However, the leg lower in continuing claims likely reflects not a rise in re-hiring, but rather an increase in the number of individuals exhausting regular state aid and moving to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides another 13 weeks of benefits. Unadjusted claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation jumped by 509,823 to about 3.3 million during the week ended Oct. 3, Labor Department data showed on Thursday.