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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Steady at 230,000
by Carol Stone, CBE  May 2, 2019

After jumping 37,000 in the April 20 week, initial claims for unemployment insurance held steady at 230,000 (8.0% year-on-year) during the week ended April 27. The April 20 number was unrevised. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 212,500.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 17,000 to 1.671 million (-5.8% y/y) in the week ending April 20, from 1.654 million in the prior week, which was revised down by 1,000. The four-week moving average of claimants decreased to 1.674 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at the record low 1.2%, where it has been since May 2018. Data on the insured unemployment rate go back to 1971.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending April 13, the lowest rates were in Florida and Nebraska (0.40%), North Carolina (0.43%), South Dakota and Tennessee (0.47%) and Virginia (0.50%). The highest rates were in Illinois (1.79%), Connecticut (2.06%), New Jersey (2.11%), California (2.12%) and Alaska (2.55%). Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above, the rate was 0.89% in Texas, 1.36% in New York and 1.74% in Pennsylvania. These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment claims going back to 1967 are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database, and they are summarized monthly in USECON. Data for individual states are in REGIONW. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 04/27/19 04/20/19 04/13/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 230 230 193 8.0 220 244 262
Continuing Claims -- 1,671 1,654 -5.8 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Apr. 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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