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Number of Americans Looking for Unemployment Benefits Ticks Down Slightly

Our jobless benefits report comes one day early this week because of Thanksgiving. Here it is:

Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 2,000 for the week ending Dec. 28, bringing the total to 339,000, down from last week’s revised figure of 341,000, the Labor Department announced Thursday.

The four-week moving average, a “less volatile” figure, increased by 8,500, bringing the total to 357,250, down from the previous unrevised average of 348,750.

“The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending December 21, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate,” the Labor Department report reads.

“The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending December 21 was 2,833,000, a decrease of 98,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,931,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,857,750, an increase of 19,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,838,750,” it adds.

Approximately “4.5 million people received some form of unemployment benefits in the week ending Dec. 14, the latest data available,” the Associated Press reported. “That's 180,000 more than the previous week.”

“Of those recipients, about 1.3 million stand to lose their benefits this month,” the report adds. “That's because Congress opted not to renew an emergency federal program, which provided up to 47 weeks of additional benefits. The program expired last week.”

The states with the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending Dec. 21 were Michigan (+4,865), New York (+3,284), Oregon (+1,901), New Jersey (+1,887), and Kentucky (+1,538).

Meanwhile, California (-5,429), Illinois (-3,509), Washington (-1,930), Minnesota (-1,627), and Indiana (-1,363) posted the biggest decreases in initial claims.

Markets have so far reacted to the data and the new year with less enthusiasm than analysts had hoped for:


Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter


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