Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Jun 08 2023

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Surge in Latest Week

  • Claims jump to highest level since October 2021.
  • Continuing claims ease.
  • Insured unemployment rate continues sideways movement.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 261,000 (17.6% y/y) during the week ended June 3 from 233,000 during the prior week, revised from 232,000. It was the highest level of claims since the last week of October 2021, up from a 182,000 low in the fourth week of last September. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected an initial claim level of 237,000 in the latest week.

The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 237,250 last week, up from 229,750 in the prior week. It was the highest level since the last week of April.

The number of continued weeks claimed, or “insured unemployment,” fell to 1.757 million in last week of May from 1.794 million in the prior week, revised from 1.795 million. The four-week moving average of continued weeks claimed fell to 1.785 million from 1.797 million in the prior week. The latest level was the lowest since the second week of March.

The insured unemployment rate, continued claims as a percent of covered employment, held at 1.2% for a sixth consecutive week. This rate has been between 1.2% and 1.3% since late January and compares with 0.9% in September and early October of last year, which is the all-time low for this measure of unemployment.

In the week ended May 20, the total number of continued weeks claimed for all unemployment insurance programs was 1.635 million (+27.4% y/y), little changed from the prior week. The recent high was 2.000 million in late February. The 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 widely across states. In the May 20 week, the highest insured rates of unemployment were in California (2.22%), New Jersey (2.12%), Massachusetts (1.85%), New York (1.58%) and Oregon (1.57%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.19%), North Dakota (0.33%), Virginia (0.34%), Kansas (0.35%), and Nebraska (0.35%). Rates in other large states include Illinois (1.43%), Pennsylvania (1.28%), Texas (1.00%) and Florida (0.42%). These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment claims go back to 1967 and 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.

    More in Author Profile »

More Economy in Brief