Initial jobless claims declined to 900,000 for the week ending Jan. 16, down from 965,000 the week before but well above the pre-pandemic high established in 1982.
Roughly 423,000 people applied for first-time federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which implies that more than 1.3 million people applied for some form of unemployment insurance as the pandemic intensified.
Continuing claims stand at 5.04 million, according to the data released by the Labor Department on Thursday. The total number on individuals receiving unemployment insurance benefits declined to 15.9 million from 18.4 million.
This is primarily a function of people exhausting their benefits. Expect this data to be quite volatile because of seasonal factors and once new eligibility criteria is put into place.
For more information on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.