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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Edge Very Slightly Higher
by Carol Stone, CBE  November 10, 2022

• Initial claims up just 7,000 in the week ended November 5.

• Continued weeks claimed just barely increase.

• Insured unemployment rate holds near record low.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance were again little changed in the latest week, ended November 5, at 225,000 (-19.4 y/y); this was up 7,000 from 218,000 in the October 29 week, revised from 217.000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected 220,000 in the latest week.

The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 218,750, compared with 219,000 in the prior week, yet again, it remained well below an early August high of 249,500 but well above an early April low of 170,500.

In the week ended October 29, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance increased to 1.493 million (-35.2% y/y) from 1.487 million in the prior week. The 4-week moving average rose to 1.450 million from 1.418 million.

The insured unemployment rate in the week ended October 29 held at 1.0%. It's still the case, as it has been since mid-April, that the insured unemployment rate has varied between 0.9% and 1.0%, a record-low range for the series, which dates back to 1971.

In the week ended October 22, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs rose to 1.263 million (-50.8% y/y) from 1.251 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 22 were in Puerto Rico (1.90%), New Jersey and California (1.76%), Alaska (1.58%), New York (1.32%) and Massachusetts (1.20%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.14%), Virginia (0.17%), Alabama (0.20%), North Dakota (0.22%) and Nebraska (0.26%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Pennsylvania (1.03%), Illinois (1.01%), Texas (0.76%) and Florida (0.47%). 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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