New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits fell 19,000 for the week ending December 31 to a seasonally adjusted 204,000. The previous week’s figure was revised down from 225,000 to 223,000. The four-week moving average as of December 31 fell to 213,750 from a revised 220,500 as of the week ending December 24.
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, fell 24,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.694 million for the week ending December 24. 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.
For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.