Unemployment Insurance Claims Data
The Unemployment Insurance (UI) monthly claims data are used in current economic analysis of unemployment trends in the Nation and in each State.
Initial claims measure emerging unemployment and weeks paid measure the duration and severity of unemployment.
- UI Claims Data are available from the US Department of Labor Web site. Weekly data are available from 1987 to present (not seasonally adjusted) and monthly from 1971 to present (not seasonally adjusted). Data do not include special UI programs.
- Unemployment Rates and Labor Force for California and Los Angeles are available from 1976 to present (seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted) and all other areas from 1990 to present (not seasonally adjusted).
- Click here to download seasonally adjusted data for California UI claims, 1978 to present.
Data and charts last updated: April 24, 2020
In March 2020, 1,654,010 initial unemployment insurance claims were filed and 1,836,915 total weeks paid in California. Adjusting for seasonality 1,740,820 initial claims were filed and 1,799,175 weeks paid.
Month over Changes
Initial claims increased 1,575,306 (951.8 percent) and weeks paid were up 493,911 (37.8 percent) in March, both seasonally adjusted.
Year over Changes
Initial claims increased 1,484,608 (876.4 percent) and weeks paid were up 297,558 (19.3 percent) from March 2019. Note: Year over changes are measured using not seasonally adjusted data since comparing the same month the previous year is not subject to seasonal patterns.
Seasonally adjusted, initial claims were up over the month 1,575,306 (951.8 percent), while over the year initial claims were up 1,484,608 (876.4 percent). The March 2020 year over increase begins a new period in unemployment claims. This is the largest year over gain in initial claims dating back to the series start in 1978. Weeks paid increased by 493,911 (37.8 percent) over the month and increased 297,558 (19.3 percent) since March 2019. March 2020 was the largest year-over increase since July 2013. March 2020 marks the first month where claims related to COVID-19 may have been represented.
The following charts are updated monthly using the most recent data available from the above sources.
This chart illustrates a comparison of initial unemployment insurance claims and number of weeks paid from January 1978. For the purpose of this chart, data have been seasonally adjusted by the Labor Market Information Division (using the x12 software provided by the Census Bureau) and a Henderson-13 trend filter is used to smooth data.
This chart illustrates a comparison of initial unemployment insurance claims, number of weeks paid, and the number of unemployed persons. For the purpose of this chart, both initial unemployment insurance claims and weeks paid have been seasonally adjusted by the Labor Market Information Division (using the x12 software provided by the Census Bureau) and a Henderson-13 trend filter has been used to smooth data. Unemployed persons is measured monthly and seasonally adjusted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program.
For questions regarding not seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims, contact the Unemployment Insurance Policy and Coordination Division,
For all other questions, including seasonal adjustment of data, contact the Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division,
Note: Seasonal factors have been updated for the entire series beginning with the January 2012 data release.