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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Ease, But Stay Within Their Recent Range
by Carol Stone, CBE  July 3, 2019

Initial unemployment insurance claims decreased 8,000 to 221,000 in the week ended June 29 from a slightly upwardly revised 229,000 (originally 227,000) the previous week. The consensus expectation in the Action Economics Survey was 223,000. The outsized jumps in claims filed the previous week in two states, Connecticut and Massachusetts, appear to have at least partially reversed. The four-week moving average of initial claims was up slightly to 222,250 from 221,750.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance edged down to 1.686 million in the week ended June 22 from 1.694 million the previous week, which was revised up from 1.688 million initially. The four-week moving average of continuing claims eased to 1.686 million from 1.688 million.

The insured unemployment rate remained at a record low of 1.2% in the week ending June 22, where it has been for since May 2018. This weekly series dates back to 1971. Monthly data start in 1949 and the current 1.2% level is also the lowest ever on that basis.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. In the week ending June 15, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.25%), Nebraska (0.41), Indiana (0.44%) and Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina all at 0.46%. The highest rates were in Illinois (1.49%), Pennsylvania (1.72%), California (1.79%), Connecticut (1.80%), New Jersey (1.90%) and Alaska (1.92%). Among other large states by population, the rate was 1.06% in Texas, 1.22% in New York and 0.89% in Michigan. These state data are not seasonally adjusted. (The unrounded state data were published separately on July 4.)

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 in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 06/29/19 06/22/19 06/15/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 221 229 217 -3.8 220 244 262
Continuing Claims  -- 1,686 1,694 -4.0 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Jun 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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