Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Mar 28 2024

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Stay Low

  • Initial claims are range bound.
  • Continuing claims rise to a narrow range eight-week high.
  • Insured unemployment rate remains steady.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance eased 2,000 to 210,000 (-9.5% y/y) in the week ended March 23, from 212,000 in the prior week, revised from 210,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 212,000 initial claims for the week. The four-week moving average of initial claims eased to 211,000 in the March 23 week from a revised 211,750 in the March 16 week.

Insured unemployment, also known as continued weeks claimed, totaled 1.819 million (7.2% y/y) in the week of March 16 versus 1.795 million (6.8% y/y) the prior week, revised from 1.807 million. The four-week moving average in the March 16 week rose slightly to 1.802 million compared to 1.799 million in the prior week. The recent low of 1.766 million was reached in the second week of January.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.2% in the week of March 16, where it has been continuously since March 11, 2023. The insured unemployment rate represents the number of insured unemployment as a percent of covered employment.

Insured rates of unemployment vary by state and territory. In the week ended March 9, the highest rates were in New Jersey (2.83%), Rhode Island (2.58%), California (2.37%), Minnesota (2.35%) and Massachusetts (2.32%). The lowest rates were in Florida (0.38%), Kansas (0.41%), Virginia (0.42%), North Carolina (0.43%) and Alabama (0.44%). Rates in other major states include Illinois (2.12%), Texas (1.02%), New York (1.97%), Pennsylvania (1.92%), and Ohio (0.98).

Data on weekly unemployment claims are from the Department of Labor itself, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They go back to 1967 and are contained in Haver’s WEEKLY database and 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.

  • Kathleen Stephansen is a Senior Economist for Haver Analytics and an Independent Trustee for the EQAT/VIP/1290 Trust Funds, encompassing the US mutual funds sponsored by the Equitable Life Insurance Company. She is a former Chief Economist of Huawei Technologies USA, Senior Economic Advisor to the Boston Consulting Group, Chief Economist of the American International Group (AIG) and AIG Asset Management’s Senior Strategist and Global Head of Sovereign Research. Prior to joining AIG in 2010, Kathleen held various positions as Chief Economist or Head of Global Research at Aladdin Capital Holdings, Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette Securities Corporation.

    Kathleen serves on the boards of the Global Interdependence Center (GIC), as Vice-Chair of the GIC College of Central Bankers, is the Treasurer for Economists for Peace and Security (EPS) and is a former board member of the National Association of Business Economics (NABE). She is a member of Chatham House and the Economic Club of New York. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the Universite Catholique de Louvain and graduate degrees in economics from the University of New Hampshire (MA) and the London School of Economics (PhD abd).

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