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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Edged Down
by Sandy Batten  June 23, 2022

• Initial claims decreased 2,000 to 229,000 in the week ended June 18.

• Continued weeks claimed edged higher by 5,000, remaining in range that prevailed in late 1960s.

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

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended June 18 declined by 2,000 to 229,000 (-46.0% y/y) from 231,000 in the previous week (revised up slightly from 229,000). Weekly claims have been trending up modestly over the past few months but remain historically quite low and indicative of still tight labor-market conditions. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 225,000 claims for the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 223,500 from 219,000 in the prior week.

In the week ended June 11, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance rose 5,000 to 1.315 million; the prior week was revised down by 2,000 to 1.310 million. Continued claims remain near their recent low of 1.306 million reached in the week of May 21, which was the lowest reading 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 June 4, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs rose to 1.297 million from 1.282 million in the previous week, which was the lowest since January 1986. 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, as both programs have expired.

The state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs vary widely. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending June 4 were in New Jersey (1.93%), California (1.77%), Alaska (1.51%), New York (1.40%) and Pennsylvania (1.36%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.18%), Virginia (0.25%), New Hampshire (0.26%), Alabama (0.30%) and North Carolina (0.32%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.10%), Texas (0.78%), Ohio (0.62%) and Florida (0.39%). 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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