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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Edge Upward
by Carol Stone, CBE  May 12, 2022

• Initial claims increase 1,000 to 203,000.

• Continued weeks claimed fell again to a new 52-year low.

• Insured unemployment rate remained at record low of 1.0%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended May 7 rose to 203,000 (-58.9% y/y) from 202,000 the week before; that earlier week was revised up by 2,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 196,000 claims for the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 192,750 from 188,500 in the prior week.

In the week ended April 30, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance fell to 1.343 million from 1.387 million in the previous week, initially reported at 1.384 million. The April 30 number was the lowest count since the week ended January 3, 1970. The insured unemployment rate retained the record low of 1.0% for a fourth consecutive week.

In the week ended April 23, the number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs fell yet again, declining to 1.440 million from 1.478 in the prior week. This total includes federal employees, newly discharged veterans, extended benefits and other specialized programs and is not seasonally adjusted. Claims in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation are no longer included in the main Labor Department press release, since both programs have expired.

The state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs vary widely. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending April 23 were in New Jersey (2.27%), California (2.22%), Alaska (1.96%), Minnesota (1.95%) and New York (1.74%). The lowest rates were in Virginia (0.19%), Alabama (0.20%), North Carolina (0.31%), Kansas (0.32%) and Nebraska (0.34%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.67%), Pennsylvania (1.48%), Texas (0.75%) and Florida (0.38%). These state rates 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 and is in the AS1REPNA database.

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