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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Move Up
by Tom Moeller  October 6, 2022

• Initial filings stand at highest level in five weeks.

• Continued weeks claimed rise modestly.

• Insured unemployment rate edges higher.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 219,000 (-35.6% y/y) in the week ended October 1 after falling to 190,000 during the prior week, revised from 193,000 reported earlier. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 205,000 initial claims for last week. The 4-week moving average of initial claims was little changed at 206,500, down from an early-August high of 249,500 but higher than an early-April low of 170,500.

In the week ended September 24, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance rose to 1.361 million (-49.1% y/y) from 1.346 million in the prior week, revised from 1.347 million. The 4-week moving average fell to 1.371 million, the smallest number of continuing claims since the third week of July.

The insured unemployment rate rose to 1.0% in the week ended September 23 from 0.9% in the prior week, revised from 1.0%. 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 September 17, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs fell to 1.247 million (-70.1% y/y), a new low for the economic expansion. 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 September 17 were in New Jersey (1.77%), California (1.75%), Puerto Rico (1.59%), New York (1.37%), Rhode Island (1.19%) and Massachusetts (1.19%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.15%), North Dakota (0.20%), Alabama (0.22%), Virginia (0.26%), Nebraska (0.27%) and Kansas (0.28%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Pennsylvania & Illinois at 1.0%, Texas (0.80%) and Florida (0.43%). 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.

More Workers Find Their Wages Falling Even Further Behind Inflation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

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