The number of terminated workers filing for unemployment insurance has reached its longest stretch of low claims since 1970, according to a federal report Thursday.
Unemployment insurance provides a temporary income to those workers terminated from their jobs. New claims have been decreasing steadily over the past year. The Department of Labor found in its most recent weekly report that the number filing initial jobless claims has remained below 300,000 for 79 consecutive weeks.
“The advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 259,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week,” the report detailed. “This marks 79 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970.”
The number reflects only those that have filed an initial claim. It does show, at the very least, the program is not growing as quickly as in the past. Nevertheless, the total number of people collecting unemployment insurance still remains fairly high.
“The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending August 20 was 2,054,736, a decrease of 45,845 from the previous week,” the report noted. “There were 2,153,629 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2015.”
There are several factors that could be leading to the generally positive numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported slow yet positive job growth over the past year. Individuals suffering from long-term unemployment may also be contributing to the low number of initial claims.
Each state dictates how long a terminated worker can get benefits but it’s generally around 26 weeks. The number of people dealing with long-term unemployment has steadily increased since the last recession. Those individuals cannot qualify for unemployment insurance.
The labor participation rate tracks the number of employed and those actively seeking work as a percentage of the total population. It has remained around 62.6 percent throughout the past year compared to 66 percent in the months leading up to the 2007 financial collapse.