U.S. unemployment claims higher for the week ended August 15

August 21, 2020

The seasonally adjusted initial claims, advance estimate, rose to 1,106,000, an increase of 135,000 for the week ending August 15 from the prior week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labour (DOL). The prior week’s level was revised to 971,000 from 963,000 up by 8,000. In comparison to the previous week’s average, the 4-week moving average was 1,175,750, a decrease of 79,000. Moreover, the preceding week’s average was revised up by 2,000 from 1,252,750 to 1,254,750.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate stood at 10.2% for the week ending August 8, a 0.4 percentage points decline from the prior week’s unrevised rate. Moreover, DOL stated that, “advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending August 8 was 14,844,000, a decrease of 636,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 6,000 from 15,486,000 to 15,480,000.” Relative to last week’s revised average, the 4-week moving average decreased by 326,750 to 15,841,250. Notably, there was a downward revision in the preceding week’s average by 1,500 from 16,169,500 to 16,168,000.


Based on the unadjusted advance estimate, there were 891,510 actual initial claims under state programs in the week ending August 15, an increase of 52,776 (or 6.3%) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had anticipated a fall of 56,304 (or -6.7%) from the previous week. Furthermore, for the week ending August 15, 51 states observed 542,797 initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

During the week ending August 8, the advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate stood at 9.8%, a 0.6 percentage point decrease relative to the previous week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs fell by 935,998 (or -6.2%) to 14,265,344 from a week earlier. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 325,080 (or -2.1%) from the prior week.

A total of 28,059,349 persons claimed benefits in all programs for the week ended August 1, a decrease of 197,601 compared to the prior week.

Extended Benefits, during the week ending August 1, were accessible in the following 52 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, the Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

For the week ending the 8th of August, 1,177 former Federal civilian employees claimed for UI benefits, an increase of 59 relative to the previous week, whereas 1031 newly discharged veterans (+129) claimed for benefits.

However, for the week ending the 1st of August, 14,614 former Federal civilian employees claimed for UI benefits, a decrease of 447 relative to the previous week, whereas 13,912 newly discharged veterans (-313) claimed for benefits.

DOL noted that, “during the week ending Aug 1, 49 states reported 11,224,774 individuals claiming Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits and 48 states reported 1,289,125 individuals claiming Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits.”

In the week ending August 1, Nevada observed the highest insured unemployment rates of 24.2% followed by Puerto Rico (21.7), Hawaii (19.9), California (17.0), Louisiana (15.9), New York (15.3), Connecticut (14.0), the Virgin Islands (13.8), Georgia (13.0), and Massachusetts (12.8).

The state that experienced the highest increases in initial claims for the week ending August 8 were in Nevada (+4,028), Puerto Rico (+3,601), Kansas (+2,248), Hawaii (+247), and South Dakota (+198), while the largest decreases were in New York (-21,366), California (-19,534), Florida (-16,702), Georgia (-11,596), and Virginia (-10,653).

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