Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| May 18 2023

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Reverse Earlier Gain

  • Upward trend remains in place.
  • Continuing claims move lower.
  • Insured unemployment rate remains at 5-month low.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to a seasonally adjusted 242,000 (+9.0% y/y) in the week ended May 13 after the prior week’s increase to an unrevised 264,000 from 242,000. A decline to 255,000 initial claims had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average fell to 244,250 from 245,250, but remained above the late-January low of 199,500 initial claims.

The number of continued weeks claimed, “insured unemployment,” fell to 1.799 million (+25.5% y/y) in the week ended May 6 from 1.807 million in the prior week, revised from 1.813 million. The four-week moving average of continued weeks claimed fell to 1.813 million, the lowest level since late-March.

In the week of May 6, the insured unemployment rate was 1.2% for the third straight week. This rate has been between 1.2% and 1.3% since late January and compares with 0.9% in September and early October last year, which is the all-time low for this measure of unemployment.

In the week of April 29, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs was 1.686 million. This was down from 1.715 million the prior week and compares to a recent high of 2.000 million the last week of February. 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.

The insured rates of unemployment in regular programs vary across states. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending April 29 were in California (2.38%), New Jersey (2.21%), Massachusetts (2.02%), Alaska (1.66%) and Minnesota (1.47%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.24%), Nebraska (0.34%), Virginia (0.34%), Kansas (0.36%), and Tennessee (0.38%). Other large state rates include New York (1.61%), Illinois (1.57%), Pennsylvania (1.27%), Texas (0.98%) and Florida (0.40%). 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.

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

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