Initial claims for regular state unemployment insurance totaled 553,000 for the week ending April 24, a drop of 13,000 from the previous week’s upwardly revised tally of 566,000 (see first chart). The current result is the lowest level since March 14, 2020 and continues to suggest an improving outlook for the labor market and overall economy.
The four-week average fell 44,000 to 611,750, the third consecutive week below 700,000. Initial claims are likely to continue trending lower as the combination of vaccine distribution and easing government restrictions on consumers and businesses push the economy closer to pre-pandemic levels of activity. However, significant damage has been done by the lockdowns and full recovery is likely some time away.
The number of ongoing claims for state unemployment programs totaled 3.813 million for the week ending April 10, down 73,089 from the prior week. The latest reading is the third consecutive week below 4 million and the lowest since the lockdowns began in March 2020 (see second chart).
Continuing claims in all federal programs totaled 12.746 million for the week ending April 10, a drop of 772,785. Since the beginning of June 2020, continuing claims in all Federal programs have been in the 12 to 16 million range, averaging 14.014 million. Federal continuing claims have fallen in three of the last five weeks, hitting the lowest level since January 16 (see second chart).
The total number of people claiming benefits in all unemployment programs including all emergency programs was 16.559 million for the week ended April 10, down 845,874 from the prior week. Total claims have been in the 16 to 20 million range since November but have fallen in four of the last five weeks and are at the lowest level since January 2 (see second chart).