Nationally initial unemployment benefit claims fall; continuing claims at lowest level in decades.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports another drop in initial weekly UI claims. The headline, though, is that ongoing claims have reached a low not seen in decades. 

In the week ending February 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 232,000, a decrease of 17,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 248,000 to 249,000. The 4-week moving average was 236,250, a decrease of 7,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 243,250 to 243,500.

Here’s the big news.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 12 was 1,476,000, a decrease of 112,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since March 14, 1970 when it was 1,456,000.

The Associated Press reports, Fewest Americans collecting unemployment aid since 1970. (We said it was the headline.)

The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell to a 52-year low after another decline in jobless aid applications last week.

Jobless claims fell by 17,000, from 249,000 to 232,000 for the week ending Feb. 19, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 7,250 to 236,250. It was the third straight week of declines after rising for five straight weeks as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spread, disrupting business in many parts of the U.S.

In total, 1,476,000 Americans were collecting jobless aid the week that ended Feb. 5, a decrease of about 112,000 from the previous week and the lowest level since March 14, 1970, the government said.

The labor shortage continues.