New applications for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits rose 13,000 for the week ending February 4 to a seasonally adjusted 196,000. The previous week’s figure was unrevised at 183,000. The four-week moving average as of February 4 fell to 189,250 from an unrevised 191,750 as of the week ending January 28.
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 38,000 from the previous week’s revised number to a seasonally adjusted 1.688 million for the week ending January 28. 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.