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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Jump Up
by Sandy Batten  June 9, 2022

• Initial claims increased 27,000 to 229,000 in the week ended June 4.

• Continued weeks claimed were unchanged at the lowest count since late 1969.

• The insured unemployment rate remained at a series low of 0.9%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended June 4 rose 27,000 to 229,000 (-45.5% y/y). This is the highest level of claims since the week ended January 15. Weekly claims have been trending up modestly over the past few months but still remain historically quite low and indicative of rather tight labor-market conditions. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 206,000 claims for the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 215,000 from 207,000 in the prior week.

In the week ended May 28, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance were unchanged at a downwardly revised 1.306 million (initially 1.309 million), the lowest count since the week ended December 27, 1969. The insured unemployment rate remained at the series low of 0.9% first reached in the week ended May 7.

In the week ended May 21, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs fell to 1.284 million, the lowest since February 1986, from 1.319 million in the previous 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 21 were in California (1.86%), New Jersey (1.84%), Alaska (1.55%), New York (1.40%) and Pennsylvania (1.28%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.16%), Alabama (0.21%), Virginia (0.26%), New Hampshire (0.27%) and Nebraska (0.29%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.22%), Texas (0.75%), Ohio (0.56%) and Florida (0.37%). 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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