Initial Unemployment Claims Drop, Cold Western States in the Worst Shape
There was good employment news last week -- 22,000 fewer people filed for first time unemployment benefits than the week before. The total number of initial claims filed was 391,000, a decrease of 22,000 from the previous week's 413,000, according to the latest numbers from the US Department of Labor.
While the trend is going downward, we still have some distance to go. The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Feb. 5 was 9,158,980. It doesn't help matters that states reported a combine total of 3,685,361 people claiming Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits, up 55,757 from the week before.
The highest insured unemployment rates were in Alaska (7.2 percent), Idaho (5.4 percent), Montana (5.3 percent), Wisconsin (5.3 percent), Oregon (5.1 percent), Pennsylvania (5.1 percent), Puerto Rico (5.1 percent), Rhode Island (5.1 percent), New Jersey (4.8 percent), and Connecticut (4.7 percent).
The largest increases in initial claims were in Missouri (+2,332), Texas (+2,171), Wisconsin (+1,795), Louisiana (+1,425), and Indiana (+1,031), while the largest decreases were in Pennsylvania (-5,174), Michigan (-4,206), California (-3,063), Ohio (-2,173), and Maryland (-1,985).
Unfortunately for unemployed residents, neither Montana nor Louisiana offer extended benefits to the unemployed. Those states that currently do are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
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