Unemployment: 5 Things You Should Know This Week (July 5)

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rate-unemploymentThere's a bit of good news this week involving the number of new people filing for unemployment benefits. Only 454,000 people made new claims last week, which may sound like a lot, but it's 21,000 fewer than the previous week's 475,000. The 4-week average was 466,000, a decrease of 1,250 from the previous week's revised average of 467,250.

Most experts agree that the weekly numbers must decline to below 400,000 new claims per week for any real progress to be made, but still, any decrease at all is good news. Here are five important unemployment facts derived from the most recently released numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:


  1. Fewer total on unemployment: The number of people participating in insured unemployment programs during the week ending June 26 was 4,413,000, a decrease of 224,000 from the preceding week's 4,637,000.

  2. Who gets extended benefits: Extended benefits were still available in Alaska, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington at the end of last week.

  3. States with fewer claims: The largest decreases in initial claims for the week ending June 26 were in Pennsylvania (-2,841), Tennessee (-1,375), Illinois (-1,346), Iowa (-1,230), and Alabama (-869). Those numbers are attributed to fewer layoffs in the manufacturing, trade, service, transportation, and transportation equipment industries.

  4. States with more claims: The states with the largest increases in initial claims last week were New Jersey (+7,951), Massachusetts (+4,681), New York (+3,473), Florida (+2,838), and Connecticut (+2,560). Those increases in unemployment were mostly caused by more school closings, as well as layoffs in the service, manufacturing, construction, transportation, warehousing, and public administration industries.

  5. States with most unemployment: The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending June 19 were in Puerto Rico (6.7 percent), Oregon (4.9), Alaska (4.8), Pennsylvania (4.7), Nevada (4.5), California (4.3), Wisconsin (4.2), Connecticut (4.0), North Carolina (3.9), and South Carolina (3.9).

A bit of disheartening news came from the number of newly discharged veterans filing for unemployment last week, up 305 to 2,286, from 2,381 the previous week. Still, with the unemployment rate dipping to 9.5 and the overall number of people filing for new unemployment benefits decreasing, all in all, the numbers for the last full week of June are encouraging.

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