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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Down 5,000
by Carol Stone, CBE  September 15, 2022

• Modest declining trend since mid-July.

• Continued weeks claimed maintaining steady trend around 1.400 million.

• Insured unemployment rate holds in record low range.

In the week ending September 10, initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 5,000 to 213,000 (-41.3% y/y) from 218,000 during the previous week; that was revised from 222,000. The number for the August 27 week was unrevised at 228,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 225,000 initial claims for last week. The 4-week moving average of initial claims fell to 224,000 last week from 232,000 in the prior week, revised from 233.000.

In the week ended September 3, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance edged up to 1.403 million (46.6% y/y) from 1.401 million in the prior week; that was revised from 1.473 million.

The insured unemployment rate remained at 1.0% for a ninth consecutive week. The insured unemployment rate has been fluctuating between 0.9% and 1.0% since April, a record-low range for the series, which dates back to 1971.

In the week ended August 27, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs was 1.391 million (-88.5% y/y). A 36-year low of 1.282 million were claimed in the last week of May. 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 insured rates of unemployment in regular programs vary widely across states. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending August 27 were in New Jersey (2.27%), California (1.83%), Rhode Island (1.77%), Puerto Rico (1.68%), New York (1.68%) and Connecticut (1.65%)., The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.13%), Alabama (0.24%), North Dakota (0.26 %), Nebraska (0.30%) and Kansas (0.29%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Pennsylvania (1.27%), Illinois (1.06%), Texas (0.83%) and Florida (0.46%). 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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