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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Up Again
by Carol Stone, CBE  July 14, 2022

• Initial claims increased 9,000 to 244,000 in the July 9 week.

• But continued claims eased 41,000 in the July 2 week.

• The insured unemployment rate returned to record low of 0.9%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended July 9 rose 9,000 to 244,000 (-37.6% y/y) from 235,000 the previous week, which was unrevised. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected a steady number of 235,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 235,750 from 232,500 in the prior week. The recent low for claims was 166,000 in the week of March 19.

In the week ended July 2, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance fell 41,000 to 1.331 million, basically reversing the prior week's increase of 48,000. That earlier week was revised down by 3,000. The insured unemployment rate decreased back down to 0.9% from the June 25 week's 1.0%. This latest move returns the rate to its lowest ever, which was first seen in the week of May 7.

In the week ended June 25, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs rose for a fourth consecutive week, to 1.400 million from 1.328 million in the previous week. However, these four weekly increases have been from a 36-year low of 1.282 million reached in the week of May 28. 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 25 were in New Jersey (1.98%), California (1.86%), Rhode Island (1.56%), Pennsylvania (1.45%) and New York (1.43%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.17%), Virginia (0.27%), Alabama (0.28%), Kansas (0.29%) and New Hampshire (0.35%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.21%), Texas (0.87%), Ohio (0.69%) and Florida (0.44%). 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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