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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Fell Again in the Latest Week
by Kathleen Stephansen, CBE  June 2, 2022

• Initial claims declined 11,000 to 200,000 in the week ended May 28.

• Continued weeks claimed declined and reached the lowest count since 1969.

• The insured unemployment rate edged back down to a record low of 0.9%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended May 28 were 200,000 (-53.2% y/y), a decrease of 11,000 from the revised level of 211,000 the prior week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 210,000 claims for the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 206,500 from 207,000 in the prior week.

In the week ended May 21, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance decreased to 1.309 million from 1.343 million in the May 14 week, reaching the lowest count since the week ended December 27, 1969. The insured unemployment rate edged back down to the record low of 0.9% first reached in the week ended May 7.

In the week ended May 14, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs rose modestly to 1.319 million from 1.317 million 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 May 14 were in California (2.00%), New Jersey (1.92%), Alaska (1.65%), Puerto Rico (1.42%), New York (1.38%), Rhode Island (1.23%), Virgin Islands (1.22%), Massachusetts (1.19%), Pennsylvania (1.19%), and Illinois (1.18%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.17%), Alabama (0.24%), Virginia (0.26%), Kansas (0.27%), Nebraska (0.29%), New Hampshire (0.28%), and North Carolina (0.30%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Texas (0.78%) 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, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

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