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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance in Slight Rise
by Carol Stone, CBE  October 27, 2022

• Claims hold to low nationwide total.

• Continued weeks claimed up modestly.

• Insured unemployment rate remains near 51-year record low.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 217,000 (-26.2% y/y) during the week ended October 22 from 214,000 during the prior week, which was not revised. A level of 223,000 had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 219,000 compared to 212,250 in the prior week, and was below an early-August high of 249,500. It remained higher than an early-April low of 170,500.

In the week ended October 15, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance increased to 1.438 million (-38.4% y/y) from 1.383 million in the prior week, revised from 1.385 million. The 4-week moving average rose to 1.388 million from 1.364 million.

The insured unemployment rate in the week ended October 15 was steady at 1.0%. The insured unemployment rate has varied between 0.9% and 1.0% since April, a record-low range for the series, which dates back to 1971.

In the week ended October 8, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs edged down to 1.222 million (-56.8% y/y) from 1.224 million. 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 October 8 were in Puerto Rico (2.49%), New Jersey and California (1.66%), Alaska (1.32%) and New York (1.30%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.12%), Virginia (0.17%), Alabama (0.19%), North Dakota (0.21%) and Kansas (0.24%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Pennsylvania (0.96%), Illinois (0.98%), Texas (0.74%) and Florida (0.45%). 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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