Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Sep 14 2023

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rise After Falling for Four Straight Weeks

  • Initial claims increase for the first time since the August 5 week.
  • Continuing claims climb to a three-week high.
  • Insured unemployment rate holds steady at 1.1%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose 3,000 to 220,000 (14.6% y/y) in the week ending September 9 from an upwardly revised 217,000 in the week ending September 2 (216,000 initially), according to the Department of Labor. The rise was the first in five weeks. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected 225,000 initial claims in the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, fell to 224,500 in the September 9 week, the lowest level since the February 25 week, from 229,500 in the previous week.

The number for insured unemployment rose 4,000 to 1.688 million (29.6% y/y) in the week ending September 2 from an upwardly revised 1.684 million in the week ending August 26 (1.679 million initially). The latest level was the highest since the August 12 week. The four-week moving average of insured unemployment decreased to a three-week-low 1.697 million in the September 2 week from 1.703 million in the prior week.

The insured unemployment rate, that is, insured unemployment as a percentage of covered employment, was unchanged at 1.1%. This rate has been between 1.1% and 1.2% since the April 22 week. A series low of 0.9% was from the August 13 week to the October 8 week. Data on the insured unemployment rate go back to 1971.

The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs fell to 1.772 million (27.3% y/y) in the week ending August 26 from 1.815 million in the prior week, registering the lowest level since the July 1 week. The recent high was 2.000 million in the February 25 week. The total (not seasonally adjusted) includes federal employees, newly discharged veterans, extended benefits and other specialized programs. Claims in the discontinued Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation are no longer included in the main Labor Department press release.

The insured unemployment rates in regular programs vary widely across states. In the week ending August 26, the highest insured unemployment rates were in New Jersey (2.58%), Hawaii (2.29%), California (2.17%), Rhode Island (2.10%), and New York and Massachusetts (1.93% each). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.19%), North Dakota (0.30%), Kansas (0.33%), Kentucky and Virginia (0.36% each), and Nebraska (0.39%). Rates in other large states were Illinois (1.46%), Texas (1.07%), Ohio (0.69%) and Florida (0.44%). These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment claims go back to 1967 and are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database; they are summarized monthly in USECON. Data for individual states are in REGIONW back to December 1986. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, in the AS1REPNA database.

  • Winnie Tapasanun has been working for Haver Analytics since 2013. She has ~20 years of working in the financial services industry. As Vice President and Economic Analyst at Globicus International, Inc., a New York-based company specializing in macroeconomics and financial markets, Winnie oversaw the company’s business operations, managed financial and economic data, and wrote daily reports on macroeconomics and financial markets. Prior to working at Globicus, she was Investment Promotion Officer at the New York Office of the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) where she wrote monthly reports on the U.S. economic outlook, wrote reports on the outlook of key U.S. industries, and assisted investors on doing business and investment in Thailand. Prior to joining the BOI, she was Adjunct Professor teaching International Political Economy/International Relations at the City College of New York. Prior to her teaching experience at the CCNY, Winnie successfully completed internships at the United Nations.   Winnie holds an MA Degree from Long Island University, New York. She also did graduate studies at Columbia University in the City of New York and doctoral requirements at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her areas of specialization are international political economy, macroeconomics, financial markets, political economy, international relations, and business development/business strategy. Her regional specialization includes, but not limited to, Southeast Asia and East Asia.   Winnie is bilingual in English and Thai with competency in French. She loves to travel (~30 countries) to better understand each country’s unique economy, fascinating culture and people as well as the global economy as a whole.

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