The national unemployment picture continued to improve throughout 2015 with weekly claims filings dropping to levels not seen in recent decades. The average duration of unemployment also continued to trend steadily downward from the peak level reached in 2012, but has not reached pre-recession levels yet. That is a good indicator that the new jobs market continues to improve, but hasn’t quite rebounded to its level of pre-recession health. All but three states have paid off their debt to the Feds and are well on their way to having strong reserve accounts again. All in all, a much rosier picture than we’ve seen for quite some time, albeit not a blemish-free one.

2015 Unemployment data:

The national unemployment rate at the end of 2015 was 5.0%, down from 5.6% at the close of 2014.

The average unemployment rate for all of 2015 was 5.3%.

The average number of claims filed per week in 2015 was over 278,000 and the year concluded with a total of nearly 14.5 million new claims filed.

The average duration of unemployment in 2015 was 29 weeks, down from nearly 34 weeks in 2014.

Sources: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics & Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis