Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| May 30 2024

U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Edge Up Marginally in May 25 Week

  • Very tight range in initial jobless claims has held since last August.
  • Continued weeks claims also very steady, between 1.728 million and 1.829 million, with flat trend.
  • All the more, the insured unemployment rate is unchanged since March 2023.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance were 219,000 seasonally adjusted in the week ended May 25, up 3,000 from the prior week; that was revised slightly to 216,000 from 215,000 reported before. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey for the latest week were 218,000. The four-week moving average for the actual data in the latest week was 222,500, up from 220,000 the prior week. Over the last year, the number of initial claims has ranged from 194,000 to 258,000.

The amount of insured unemployment, also known as continued weeks claimed, was 1.791 million in the week ended May 18, up modestly from 1.787 million the week before; that earlier amount was revised from 1.794 million reported before. The four-week moving average through the May 18 week was 1.786 million. Over the last year, the weekly amount of insured unemployment has hovered between 1.710 million and 1.829 million.

The insured unemployment rate, that is, the amount of insured unemployment as a percent of covered employment, was 1.2% yet again in the May 18 week. This percentage has held continuously since the week ended March 11, 2023.

The rates of insured unemployment vary widely across individual states and territories. In the week ended May 11, the highest rates were in New Jersey (2.31%), California (2.18%), Illinois (1.64%), Rhode Island (1.63%), and Massachusetts and Washington (each 1.61%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.27%), Kansas (0.34%), Florida (0.37%), Kentucky (0.40%) and Virginia and North Carolina (each 0.42%). Rates in other prominent states include New York (1.56%), Pennsylvania (1.44%), Texas (1.08%), Ohio (0.71%) and Louisiana (0.62%). 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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