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New Unemployment Claims Fall to 52-year Low: Here Are the Best and Worst States for Jobs

The number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment claims came down to the lowest level since November 1969, with the number of filings falling to 199,000. 

Recovery in the labor market has been wide-based, with the weekly rate of those provided newly jobless reducing speedily around the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

The Lowest Proportion of the Population Claiming Unemployment Benefits

As always, a recent weekly report of the Labor Department mentioned a list of the states and territories having the highest and lowest insured jobless rates, or the proportion of people applying for unemployment benefits divided by the entire size of the labor force.

For some of the states, this chief labor market metric has seen improvement to its highest level in the last two years, reflecting an even reduced part of their populations claiming unemployment benefits in comparison to before the coronavirus pandemic. 

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This Isn’t Economic Recovery Anymore- the Chief Economist for Fwdbonds, Chris Rupkey

Chris Rupkey, the chief economist for FWDBONDS, said that “I don’t even think you can call it an economic recovery anymore,” adding further “Remember the best economy in 50 years late in 2019? Well, we’re way, way, way above that right now.

I don’t even think you can call this a reopening of the economy after the pandemic — we’re miles and miles ahead of the fourth quarter of 2019.”

The state which had the lowest insured jobless rate was South Dakota. As of the 6th of November, the state’s rate was at 0.2 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis. October 2019 was the last time when this figure was below that level. 

For the same week, the national average insured unemployment rate was at 1.3%, or the lowermost since December 2019. In May 2020, at the worst point of the pandemic, during extensive lockdowns and unemployment due to extreme layoffs, the insured unemployment rate reached 15.9% across the country.

The insured unemployment rates below the national average were also posted by other states. For the week ended on 6th November, Alabama’s insured unemployment rate came in at 0.3% or the lowest on record based on state-wise data since the 1980s.

The insured unemployment rate of Nebraska also came down at 0.3% for the same period, the lowest in the last two years. 

States Showing Remarkable Improvements

The five states that posted insured unemployment rates of 0.4% for the beginning of November are Kansas, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Utah, also showing a remarkable improvement from their rates during the pandemic.

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A bit less than fifty percent of U.S. states and territories or 19 in total have posted insured unemployment rates at or beyond the national average at the beginning of the month.

Among these, the highest rate has been seen by the Virgin Islands with 3.0%, which marked a slight increase from the rate of 2.2% in the earlier week. Yet, this was low enough in comparison to the rate of nearly 18% in June 2020 when the pandemic was at its peak with continuously increasing COVID-19 cases.

In the meantime, the insured unemployment rates of 2.7% posted by Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and Alaska each, marked the second-highest rates in the country, based on the latest data. It was then followed by California with a 2.6% of the insured unemployment rate.

Several states posting continuously increased insured unemployment rates have been those that are heavily dependent on tourism and their service economies, taking into account the undergoing improvement still taking place in these sectors after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Wednesday morning, in a note, the chief U.S. economist for High-Frequency Economics, Rubella Farooqi said that “Workers remain in high demand in a labor market where payrolls and the civilian labor force remain well below pre-pandemic levels.”

“Developments on the health front remain a risk that may weigh on labor supply, but we expect workers to gradually return to the labor market, as the cushion from savings diminishes, supporting job growth over coming months.”

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