The number of people filing claims for unemployment benefits, a key measure of layoffs, has fallen for the first time to the lowest level since September 2008, official figures showed on Wednesday. Initial jobless claims declined to 466,000 in the week ended Nov. 21, a decrease of 35,000, from 501,000 a week earlier, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. This was the first reading below 500,000 this early January.
Initial jobless claims have hovered above 500K for 52 straight weeks, as the unemployment rate has climbed to a 26-year high of 10.2%.
DOL: The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending Nov. 7 were in Puerto Rico (6.2 percent), Oregon (5.5), Alaska (5.1), Nevada (5.1), Pennsylvania (4.9), Wisconsin (4.9), Arkansas (4.7), California (4.7), Michigan (4.6), North Carolina (4.6), and Washington (4.6).
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Nov. 14 were in Florida (+1,313), Indiana (+607), Hawaii (+278), and North Dakota (+81), while the largest decreases were in California (-7,987), Texas (-4,710), Pennsylvania (-4,321), Wisconsin (-2,716), and Ohio (-2,486).