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Unemployment Claims Monitor

The Unemployment Claims Monitor provides data on initial and continued claims for unemployment insurance as well as claimants' demographic data. We also report data on claimants in the Short-Time Compensation (Workshare), Extended Benefits, State Additional Benefits, Federal Employee, and Ex-Service Member programs. We will update the tool every Thursday morning to reflect the U.S. Department of Labor's most recent weekly unemployment insurance claims report and the most recent data available in the U.S. Department of Labor's ETA 539 "Weekly Claims and Extended Benefits Trigger Data" file. See "About the Data," located below the tool, for detailed definitions of these categories of claims and data sources.

Unemployment insurance claims have typically been available only to traditional W-2 employees who work for a wage, also known as "covered" employees. The Unemployment Claims Monitor also presents data on Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a new program created by the CARES Act that expanded coverage to include other workers not previously eligible, including contract, 1099, or gig workers.

About the Data

We obtain data on unemployment insurance claims and claimants from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA):

  • Weekly data on state initial and continued claims, across all programs, are from the ETA 539 "Weekly Claims and Extended Benefits Trigger Data" file. Data for advance initial and continued claims (the most recent week of data) come from ETA 538, "Advance Weekly Initial and Continued Claims Report." Weekly national data on initial and continued claims are derived from the "r539cy" national weekly claims data file. The most recently available national data on seasonally adjusted initial and continued regular claims are obtained from the weekly unemployment insurance claims reports. If there are discrepancies between the nonseasonally adjusted initial and continued claims data displayed in the tool, and those published in the latest weekly report from the U.S. Department of Labor, our numbers reflect more current information available in the ETA 539 data, which are updated daily to reflect edits and changes made by states.
  • Demographic data on unemployment insurance claimants are derived from the "Characteristics of the Insured Unemployed" ETA 203 data file. The data are updated monthly and reflect "a sample or […] the universe of those who file a continued claim in the week containing the 19th of the month, which reflects unemployment during the week containing the 12th."

We display demographic data on the gender, race, ethnicity, age, and industry of prior employment of unemployment insurance claimants nationally and for individual states. For each category within these variables, we have calculated the share of claimants within that category out of the total number of claimants.

Initial claims indicate the number of individuals who attempted to file for unemployment insurance in the week ending in the selected date. Continued weeks claimed, or the insured unemployed, reflect the number of individuals claiming unemployment benefits in the week ended by the selected date. We refer to regular claims as claims filed in regular state programs. Nonregular claims are those filed in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees, Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service Members, Short-Time Compensation or Workshare, Extended Benefits, and State Additional Benefits programs.

Future updates will include county-level unemployment claims where available as well as other data points on unemployment insurance programs across the country.

While unemployment claims provide important data on potential unemployment trends, they are just one aspect of unemployment. For another view on unemployment, see the Atlanta Fed's Labor Report First Look, which provides a detailed picture of the monthly unemployment report released on the first Friday of every month.

Contact Us

Photo of Stuart Andreason

Stuart Andreason

Director, Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity

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Mels de Zeeuw

Senior Research Analyst