U.S. unemployment claims decreased for the week ended December 19

December 24, 2020

The seasonally adjusted initial claims, advance estimate, decreased by 89,000 to 803,000 for the week ending December 19, from the prior week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labour (DOL). The prior week’s level was revised from 885,000 to 892,000 up by 7,000. In comparison to the previous week’s average, the 4-week moving average was s 818,250, an increase of 4,000. Moreover, the preceding week’s average was revised up by 1,750 from 812,500 to 814,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate stood at 3.6% for the week ending November 28, a 0.2 percentage point decrease from the prior week’s unrevised rate.  Moreover, DOL stated that, “advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 12 was 5,337,000, a decrease of 170,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 1,000 from 5,508,000 to 5,507,000.” Relative to last week’s revised average, the 4-week moving average decreased by 188,000 to 5,538,000. Notably, there was a downward revision in the preceding week’s average down by 250 from 5,726,250 to 5,726,000.



Based on the unadjusted advance estimate, there were 869,398 actual initial claims under state programs in the week ending December 19, a decline of 72,512 (or -7.7%) from the previous week. The seasonal factors anticipated an increase of 16,988 (or 1.8%) from the previous week. Furthermore, for the week ending December 19, 53 states observed 397,511 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

During the week ending December 12, the advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate stood at 3.7%, unchanged relative to the previous week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs fell by 47,552 (or -0.9%) to 5,444,281 from a week earlier. The seasonal factors had anticipated a rise of 122,584 (or 2.2%) from the previous week.


A total of 20,363,675 persons claimed benefits in all programs for the week ended December 5, a decline of 283,170 compared to the prior week.

Extended Benefits, during the week ending December 5, were accessible in the following 24 states: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Texas, the Virgin Islands, and Washington.

For the week ending the 12th of December, 2,362 former Federal civilian employees claimed for UI benefits, a rise of 128 relative to the previous week, whereas, 786 newly discharged veterans (-35) claimed for benefits.

However, for the week ending the 5th of December, 17,269 former Federal civilian employees claimed for UI benefits, a rise of 768 relative to the previous week, whereas 9,501 newly discharged veterans (-701) claimed for benefits.

DOL noted that, “during the week ending December 5, 51 states reported 9,271,112 continued weekly claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 51 states reported 4,793,230 continued claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.”

In the week ending December 5, Virgin Islands observed the highest insured unemployment rates of 8.3% followed by Alaska (6.6), California (6.6), New Mexico (6.5), Nevada (6.1), Hawaii (5.6), Illinois (5.6), Pennsylvania (5.4), Puerto Rico (5.2), and Kansas (5.0).

The state that experienced the highest increases in initial claims for the week ending December 12 were Illinois (+30,743), California (+25,664), Kansas (+5,637), Delaware (+2,355), and Ohio (+1,996), while the largest decreases were in Georgia (-9,301), Minnesota (-9,158), Texas (-8,876), Indiana (-7,920), and Wisconsin (-7,038).


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