Initial Jobless Claims Down, Continuing Claims Up

By Lucy Ren

Initial jobless claims for the week ended Jan. 17 declined 10,000 from the previous week’s level, but the four-week moving average increased by 2.2 percent, and continuing claims for the week ended Jan.10 also increased.

The four-week moving average rose by 6,500 to 306,500 for the week ended on Jan.17. Continuing claims increased by 0.6 percent to 2.44 million.

The Department of Labor said in Initial Jobless Claims that there were no special factors impacting claims.

Weekly initial jobless claims have vacillated, but gone down steadily over the last year. (U.S. Bureau of Labor, Lucy Ren/Medill)

“The numbers are quite consistent with the recent increase in job openings, “said Mark Witte, associate professor of economics at Northwestern University. “But the initial claims number often gets revised,” he added.

The number of job openings has reached the highest level in nearly 14 years, according to the November job openings report. The professional and business services marked the fastest growth among all sectors.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ended Jan.10 were in California, Texas, Indianan, Missouri and Illinois, while the largest declines took place in New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, New Jersey and South Carolina.

Initial jobless claims are affected by various factors in different states. (U.S. Bureau of Labor, Lucy Ren/Medill)

For New York and Pennsylvania, the largest declines in layoffs were in the transportation and warehousing industries.

Despite having large decline in initial jobless claims, New Jersey was among the states with the highest continuing claims for the week ended on Jan.3, along with Alaska and Connecticut.

Photo at top: Jobless numbers have dropped substantially in the last year, which means more businesses looking to hire entry-level and skilled workers. (Lucy Ren/Medill)