Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| May 16 2024

U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Ease by 10,000 in May 11 Week

  • Initial claims come back toward recent tight range
  • Continued weeks claimed rise somewhat in May 4 week
  • But insured unemployment rate holds at 1.2% into a 14th month

Initial claims for unemployment insurance were 222,000 in the week ended May 11, down from 232,000 the week before; that earlier amount was revised slightly from 231,000 reported a week ago. The current week was close to the Action Economics Forecast Survey expectation of 219,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims was 217,750, up from 215,250 the week before.

Insured unemployment, that is, the total number of continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance, was 1.794 million in the week ended May 4, up from 1.781 million the week before; the earlier period’s amount was revised from 1.785 million reported before. In the May 4 week, the four-week moving average was 1,779,250, down marginally from 1.780 million in the four weeks ended April 27.

The insured unemployment rate, that is, insured unemployment as a percent of covered employment, was still 1.2% in the May 4 week. This rate has been at this level continuously since March 4, 2023, that is, almost 14 months.

Insured unemployment rates vary widely by individual states and territories. In the week ended April 27, the highest rates were in New Jersey (2.38%), California (2.27%), Rhode Island (1.78%), Massachusetts (1.76%) and New York (1.74%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.30%), Kansas (0.34%), Florida (0.37%), Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky (each 0.41%), and Nebraska (0.43%). Rates in other prominent states include Illinois (1.66%), Pennsylvania (1.43%), Texas (1.06%), Michigan (1.04%) and Ohio (0.73%). These state rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment claims are from the Department of Labor, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They begin in 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.

  • Carol Stone, CBE came to Haver Analytics in 2003 following more than 35 years as a financial market economist at major Wall Street financial institutions, most especially Merrill Lynch and Nomura Securities. She has broad experience in analysis and forecasting of flow-of-funds accounts, the federal budget and Federal Reserve operations. At Nomura Securites, among other duties, she developed various indicator forecasting tools and edited a daily global publication produced in London and New York for readers in Tokyo.   At Haver Analytics, Carol is a member of the Research Department, aiding database managers with research and documentation efforts, as well as posting commentary on select economic reports. In addition, she conducts Ways-of-the-World, a blog on economic issues for an Episcopal-Church-affiliated website, The Geranium Farm.   During her career, Carol served as an officer of the Money Marketeers and the Downtown Economists Club. She has a PhD from NYU's Stern School of Business. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has a weekend home on Long Island.

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