New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 7,000 for the week ending July 16 to a seasonally adjusted 251,000. The four-week moving average as of July 16 rose to 240,500 from 236,000 as of the week ending June 9.
The number of continuing unemployment insurance claims, which refers to the number of unemployed workers who filed for benefits at least two weeks ago and are actively receiving unemployment benefits, rose 51,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.384 million for the week ending July 9. Reporting for continuing claims lags one week.
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.