Weekly unemployment claims fall, but higher than last year

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Weekly unemployment claims fall, but higher than last year

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 12:02pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Weekly unemployment claims fell steeply last week as the typical holiday season volatility continued. But year-to-year claims were higher. For the week of December 8, 2018, there were 633 claims, 229 fewer than they were the previous week, but 47 fewer than they were a year ago. The holiday season sees wild swings in claims, as retailers in particular hire and layoff workers in spikes in November and December.

Altogether 4,033 new and continuing claims were filed, a decrease of 750 from a week ago, but 128 fewer than a year ago. For most weeks of 2017 and 2018 claims have been lower than the year before. Vermont, like the nation as a whole, is locked into a historically low period of unemployment.

For UI claims last week by industry, Services, which typically accounts for most claims, represented only 37 percent of all claims. Construction claims took over the lead spot, but were actually lower than the week before. Manufacturing claims fell.

Vermont's unemployment rate for October 2018 was 2.8 percent. This is a decrease of one-tenth. Vermont's rate is 5th lowest in the nation. SEE STORY.

UI tax rates for employers fell again on July 1, 2018, as claims continue to be lower than previous projections. Individual employers' reduced taxable wage rates will vary according to their experience rating; however, the rate reduction will lower the highest UI tax rate from 7.7 percent to 6.5 percent. The lowest UI tax rate will see a reduction from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent.

Also effective July 1, 2018, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit will be indexed upwards to 57% of the average weekly wage. The current maximum weekly benefit amount is $466, which will increase to $498. Both changes are directly tied to the change in the Tax Rate Schedule.

The Vermont rate for October is scheduled to be released November 16.

The unemployment rate in the US stayed at 3.7 percent in October, according to the US Department of Labor in its report released earlier this month. It is the lowest jobless rate since December of 1969 and four-tenths lower than a year ago. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 250,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent. Job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, in construction, and in transportation and warehousing.

Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 0.4 percentage point and 449,000, respectively. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 250,000 in October, following an average monthly gain of 211,000 over the prior 12 months. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in October, and the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 6.1 million.

Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 0.4 percentage point and 449,000, respectively.  Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), adult women (3.4 percent), teenagers (11.9 percent), Whites (3.3 percent), Blacks (6.2 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and Hispanics (4.4 percent) showed little or no change in October. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.4 million in October and accounted for 22.5 percent of the unemployed.

Unemployment Rate in the United States averaged 5.77 percent from 1948 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 10.80 percent in November of 1982 and a record low of 2.50 percent in May of 1953.

The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/. Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc

NOTE: Employment (nonfarm payroll) - A count of all persons who worked full- or part-time or received pay from a nonagricultural employer for any part of the pay period which included the 12th of the month. Because this count comes from a survey of employers, persons who work for two different companies would be counted twice. Therefore, nonfarm payroll employment is really a count of the number of jobs, rather than the number of persons employed. Persons may receive pay from a job if they are temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, or labor-management dispute. This count is based on where the jobs are located, regardless of where the workers reside, and is therefore sometimes referred to as employment "by place of work." Nonfarm payroll employment data are collected and compiled based on the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Labor. This count was formerly referred to as nonagricultural wage and salary employment.