Fewer people filed first time unemployment insurance claims for the week ending April 25, the Department of Labor reported today.

The advance seasonally adjusted initial claims figure was 631,000, down from 645,000 the previous week. (It’s interesting just how many qualifiers are put in front of the number…)

The 31 economists that Bloomberg polled expected the number to be unchanged and so this may be a sign that the pace of job losses is slowing.

For the week ending April 18, the total number of Americans receiving unemployment insurance was 6,271,000, an increase of 133,000 from the week ending April 11.

The states with the most residents collecting unemployment for the week ending April 11 were:

  1. Michigan – 8 percent
  2. Oregon – 7.7 percent
  3. Pennsylvania & Wisconsin (tie) – 6.7 percent
  4. Idaho – 6.6 percent
  5. Nevada – 6.3 percent
  6. Vermont – 6 percent
  7. Rhode Island – 5.9 percent
  8. Alaska – 5.8 percent
  9. Illinois & New Jersey (tie) – 5.7 percent

For the week ending April 18, California and New York saw the greatest increases in initial unemployment claims. Pennsylvania and Florida had the greatest decreases.

If you think you may be losing your job soon you may want to go to your state government’s Web site and research how unemployment works for you. In late 2001 I was laid off from a dot-com job and filed for unemployment in Maryland. Fortunately the whole process was accessible via the telephone. I also had to keep records of my job search while I was receiving unemployment benefits. Some states may require you to visit an unemployment office in person.

April 30, 2009