New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 14,000 (7.4%) for the week ending March 26 to a seasonally adjusted 202,000. The four-week moving average as of March 26 dropped to 208,500 from 211,750 as of the week ending March 26.
Initial claims for the previous week ending March 19 came in at a seasonally adjusted 187,000, which was the lowest number recorded since September 1969.
Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.
The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.