While the economy grew at its fastest pace ever in the third quarter as a nation, fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week. Both new and total claims continue to drop, implying that more people are able to find jobs again.
Specifically, the unadjusted new jobless claims totaled 732,223 in the week ending October 24, a decrease of 4% from the previous week. In the meantime, continued claims, which measure the number of people receiving unemployment checks, fell once again to nearly 7 million by more than 600,000 fewer applicants within a week. With continued claims declining for the last 7 weeks, the number of people receiving unemployment checks decreased by nearly 6 million during this period.
The National Association of REALTORS® closely monitors the weekly claims for unemployment insurance provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since this data is also released for each state, we track the jobless claims activity at the state level. This state-level data report is a very important indicator to watch at economic turning points because it provides detail on what’s happening week by week, rather than each month or quarter.
Thirty-one states reported a decrease in new claims for the week ending October 24. Taking a closer look at the percentage change of the last week’s new claims with the new claims of the previous week, Louisiana (-30%) had the largest drop in layoffs followed by Texas (-25%) and Tennessee (-25%). In contrast, unadjusted advance claims increased in Michigan, Connecticut, and Virginia. Particularly, compared to the previous week, initial claims increased by 120% in Michigan; 37% in Connecticut; 28% in Virginia.
Here are the top 10 states with the highest increase/decline in jobless claims compared to the previous week:
Moreover, the current release provides information about people filing new and total Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Specifically, the PUA is for the self-employed and others who do not qualify for the regular state unemployment programs. Among 50 states, 10 million people received benefits in the week ending October 10 using the federal government’s PUA program. California, Hawaii, and New York had the most people receiving PUA benefits. Specifically, 18% of the labor force in California received PUA benefits in the week ending October 10 followed by Hawaii (17%) and New York (13%).
Finally, more people applied for extended benefits last week. After exhausting the 26 weeks of regular benefits that typically the states provide to their residents, people are able to apply for longer-term unemployment benefits (up to 13 additional weeks) with the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Nearly 400,000 more people applied a new claim for PEUC in the week ending October 10 compared to the previous week. Louisiana, Hawaii, and Illinois were the states with the highest increase of people applying for PEUC within a week. In Louisiana, the number of new PEUC applicants rose 51% from the previous week. However, fewer people applied for longer-term benefits in West Virginia (-79%), Alabama (-16%), and Washington (-14%) during the same period.
The map below shows you the percentage change of layoffs for each state. Click on a state to see how many layoffs occurred every week within the last year.