Unemployment Insurance Claims Continue Downtrend

New jobless claims in week ending Feb. 5, 2022, fall for third straight week

Initial claims for unemployment insurance across the U.S. were 223,000 for the week ending Feb. 5, 2022, on a seasonally adjusted basis. This represented a decrease of 16,000 (6.7%) from the revised figure for the prior week. It was the third consecutive weekly decline and was 3.0% below economists' estimate of 230,000.

The four-week moving average for initial claims rose to 253,250, down by 2,000 (0.8%) from the revised figure for the prior week. In December 2021, initial claims had fallen to 188,000.

Key Takeaways

  • Initial claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending Feb. 5, 2022, declined for the third consecutive week.
  • They also were below economists' estimates for the third straight week.
  • Continuing claims were unchanged.

Continuing Claims Unchanged

Unemployment insurance continuing claims were stable, although compilation of this data lags new claims by one week. For the week ending Jan. 29, 2022, the number of continuing claims, also called the number of insured unemployed persons, was 1,621,000, unchanged from the revised number for the prior week, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

However, the four-week moving average for continuing claims rose by 16,500 (1.0%) from the revised figure for the prior week to 1,634,500. The previous week's moving average had been revised downward by 1,750 (0.1%), from 1,619,759 to 1,618,000.

Adjusted vs. Unadjusted Data

The seasonally adjusted nationwide initial claims figure of 223,000 cited above for the week ending Feb. 5, 2022, was derived from an unadjusted figure of 228,909. The unadjusted figure fell by 28,674 (11.1%) from 257,583 in the prior week. However, the normal seasonal factors observed at this time of year should have led to an increase of 13,497 (5.2%) from the prior week to 244,086 in the week ending Feb. 5, 2022, all else equal. During the comparable week in 2021, there were 868,053 initial claims.

Initial Jobless Claims by State

Most states reported declines in new claims, led by 3,978 fewer unadjusted initial claims in Kentucky, 3,007 fewer in Tennessee, 2,948 fewer in Illinois, and 2,286 fewer in California. The largest increases in unadjusted initial claims were 2,883 in Michigan and 90 in South Carolina. Note that the statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor also include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, in addition to the 50 states. As indicated above, total unadjusted new claims fell by 28,674 during the week ending Feb. 5, 2022.

However, the U.S. Department of Labor cautions that the breakdown by state for the week ending Feb. 5, 2022, contains what are called advance claims. These advance claims are reported by the state liable for paying the unemployment compensation. However, data for previous weeks classify claimants by state of residence. Thus, the state-by-state figures for the week ending Feb. 5, 2022, and the prior week are not completely comparable.

For comparable figures, the Department of Labor instead looks at the data for a week earlier, which ended on Jan. 29, 2022. The largest increases in initial claims for that week, compared to the week before that, were in Pennsylvania (+2,735), Georgia (+1,551), Michigan (+1,238), Indiana (+939), and Texas (+785). The largest decreases were in Ohio (-4,847), California (-2,595), Kentucky (-2,318), Utah (-1,870), and Alabama (-1,343).

Highest Insured Unemployment Rates

Meanwhile, the highest insured unemployment rates for the week ending Jan. 22, 2022, were in Alaska (2.9%), California (2.7%), Illinois (2.5%), Minnesota (2.5%), New Jersey (2.5%), Rhode Island (2.5%), the Virgin Islands (2.5%), New York (2.4)%, Massachusetts (2.3%), and Puerto Rico (2.1%). The advance seasonally adjusted national figure for the week ending Jan. 29, 2022, was 1.2%, unchanged from the revised figure for the prior week. The insured unemployment rate is the ratio of persons receiving unemployment benefits to the total number of persons in the labor force.

During the week ending Jan. 22, 2022, extended unemployment benefits were available in New Jersey and New Mexico.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. U.S. Department of Labor. "News Release: Unemployment Weekly Claims, Feb. 10, 2022," Pages 1-2. Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.

  2. Bloomberg. "US Jobless Claims Fell by More Than Forecast Last Week to 223,000." Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.

  3. MarketWatch. "U.S. Unemployment Claims Drop 23,000 to 238,000 as Omicron Wave Relents." Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.

  4. U.S. Department of Labor. "News Release: Unemployment Weekly Claims, Feb. 10, 2022," Pages 3-5. Accessed Feb. 10 2022.

  5. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. "Labor Market Slack and the Insured Unemployment Rate." Accessed Feb. 10, 2022.

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