North Dakota weekly unemployment claims increased last week
New weekly unemployment claims in North Dakota, a proxy for layoffs, increased last week compared with the week prior, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.
New claims rose to 2,205 in the week ending April 10, up from 821 the week before, the labor department said.
Last year at this time, there were 9,502 new claims in North Dakota as businesses closed their doors and laid off workers at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. unemployment claims dropped to 576,000 last week, down 193,000 claims from 769,000 the week prior on a seasonally adjusted basis.
This marks the lowest level of new U.S. jobless claims since before the pandemic.
But Sarah House, a senior economist at Wells Fargo, isn't celebrating just yet.
"It's another week of whiplash," House said, referencing the unexpected jump in claims two weeks ago. She said jobless claims have remained stubbornly high even as more businesses have reopened and brought back workers, and this week's data puts claims more in line with other economic indicators.
"It still remains really high for where we are in this overall recovery, (such as) the fact that hiring has picked up substantially," she said.
House noted that last week's claims are still on par with some of the worst weeks of the 2009 recession, and pointed to California's decrease of more than 75,000 claims between last week and the week prior as a major driver of the overall U.S. decline in claims.
New U.S. claims peaked in the pandemic in early April, just over a year ago. Since then, claims have slowly fallen, hovering between 700,000-800,000 weekly for the past month as more states are loosening restrictions on restaurants, movie theaters and bowling alleys, among other businesses, and those businesses are calling back workers.
Still, new jobless claims have remained at elevated levels, and are nearly three times as high when compared with 2019 levels of about 200,000 weekly claims.
North Dakota saw the largest percentage increase in weekly claims, with claims jumping by 168.6%.Virginia, meanwhile, saw the largest percentage drop in new claims, with claims dropping by 81%.