Initial Jobless Claims Up Another Week
The number of Americans claiming unemployment insurance is continuing to rise in September as the U.S. Department of Labor factors in the loss in business activity following the two recent natural disasters.
In the week ending September 23, about 12,000 Americans across the country applied for unemployment insurance, taking the initial jobless claim count to 272,000. This is a jump of 7.5% from the same period a year ago.
The bureau has also revised up the unemployment numbers for the previous week. The total jobless claims for the week ending September 16 have now been revised up to 260,000, which accounts for 1,000 additional claims than previously estimated for that week.
These current numbers take into consideration the impacts of two recent natural disasters: Hurricane Harvey, which caused devastation in Texas, and Hurricane Irma, which wreaked havoc on Florida. Both disasters have caused a significant loss of economic activity in the affected areas.
Meanwhile, the four-week moving average, which smooths out the data across four weeks for better comparison, has now hit its highest level since February 2016. The most recent four-week moving average for jobless claims was 277,750, which is up by 9,000 from the preceding week.
The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate stood at 1.4% on September 16.
The five states with the largest recent increases in initial jobless claims are California, Florida, Ohio, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina, in that order.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Puerto Rico was 3.3%. Puerto Rico has been facing a severe economic crisis ever since its commonwealth government filed for bankruptcy this year. The situation only got worse after Hurricane Maria hit the island.
Following Puerto Rico was New Jersey, with an insured unemployment rate of 2.3%; followed by Alaska, with 2.1%; California, with 1.9%; Connecticut, with 1.9%; Pennsylvania, with 1.8%; and Texas, with 1.7%.
“Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims,” U.S. Department of Labor, September 28, 2017.