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These states suffer from the weakest job recovery as election approaches

The final jobless claims report before the election showed the latest weekly total of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped slightly to 751,000. Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick joins Zack Guzman to discuss.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: I want to focus on the update we got on the unemployment front here, too, because that is obviously an economic data point that we continue to watch here in this recovery. And applications for unemployment benefits posted a back-to-back drop and fell more than forecast last week, indicating continued strength in this job recovery. Initial jobless claims in regular programs totaled 751,000 for the week. That was down by about 40,000 in the prior week. And for more on that report, I want to get to Yahoo Finance's Emily McCormick to dig through that report in a little bit more detail. Emily?

EMILY MCCORMICK: Well, Zack, taking a look at the Department of Labor's weekly unemployment claims report, we did see that coming in better than expected, as you mentioned. Those initial jobless claims for the week ended October 24, to reiterate that headline, coming in at 751,000. 770,000 had been expected. And that was a decline compared to the prior week's upwardly-revised 791,000.

Now, this marked the ninth straight week that we saw new jobless claims remain below the psychologically important 1 million mark. Now, if we take a look at those continuing jobless claims-- those, of course, reported on a one-week lag-- those also came in better than expected at 7.76 million versus the 7.78 million anticipated and the previous week's also upwardly-revised 8.47 million.

Now, that said, same as we've been seeing in the past couple weeks' worth of data. That drop in continuing claims isn't necessarily unequivocally good news since it coincided again with an increase in the number of individuals joining the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program. Now, that provides benefits for those who had exhausted their regular state program benefits and then moved onto that new federal program. So again, pointing to signs of lingering unemployment here for those who had been laid off or furloughed earlier on during the pandemic period.

Now, all told, we did see 22.6 million people claiming benefits in all programs, according to the latest report. That number did fall by about 415,000 from the previous week, but, again, still many times higher than the 1.4 million people claiming benefits in all programs during the same week in 2019. Zack?

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and also, Emily, as we like to do and back up and look at the state-by-state basis here, because this recovery has been quite lumpy. We're still seeing Hawaii lead the nation when it comes to the insured unemployment rate on the state level there at 12.6%. California still holding steady at the second place, Nevada still holding steady in the third place.

The trend has been a lot of these economies tied to hospitality sectors, travel sector. Interesting to note, though, Georgia there in the four spot at 8.3% in terms of the insured unemployment rate there. That's a state that historically has been quite red when it comes to the presidential election. New polls, though, showing Biden showing some interesting strength there. At 8.3%, that's still well above the national average, so interesting to see how these states are recovering at that level.