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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Edge Higher
by Tom Moeller  July 8, 2021

• Continuing claims for state benefits ease.

• PUA claims decline sharply.

• Insured jobless rate slips.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 373,000 in the week ended July 3 from 371,000 in the prior week, revised from 364,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 359,000 initial claims. The 4-week moving average of 394,500 initial claims compared to 394,750 in the prior week.

Initial claims for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program fell sharply to 99,001 from 114,186, following three weeks of increase. The PUA program provides benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance benefits, such as the self-employed. Given the brief history of this program, these and other COVID-related series are not seasonally adjusted.

Continuing claims for regular state unemployment insurance in the week ended June 26 fell to 3.339 million from 3.484 million in the prior week, revised from 3.469 million. The insured rate of unemployment eased to 2.4%. The rate reached a high of 15.9% in the week of May 9, 2020.

Continued claims for PUA fell to 5.825 million in the week ended June 19 (the lowest since the week ended April 25, 2020) from 5.936 in the previous week. Continued PEUC claims fell sharply to 4.908 million in the June 19 week from 5.262 million in the previous week. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program covers people who have exhausted their state unemployment insurance benefits.

The total number of all state, federal, PUA and PEUC continuing claims declined to 14.209 million the lowest level since the first week of April 2020. The level is down from the high of 33.228 million in the third week of June 2020. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

The state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs continued to vary widely. In the week ending June 19, the highest insured unemployment rates were in Rhode Island (4.61%), Nevada (4.37%), California (3.97%), Connecticut (3.85%) and Illinois (3.64%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.42%), Utah (0.66%), Alabama (0.70%), Nebraska (0.74%) and Idaho (0.79%). Insured unemployment rates in other large states included New York (3.41%), Texas (1.65%) and Florida (1.17%). These state rates are not seasonally adjusted.

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 from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 07/03/21 06/26/21 06/19/21 Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Initial Claims 373 371 416 -73.3 1,352 218 220
Initial Claims (NSA) 370 367 398 -73.4 1,353 218 221
Initial Claims Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (NSA) 99 114 112 -88.5 -- -- --
Continuing Claims -- 3,339 3,484 -80.1 10,380 1,699 1,754
Continuing Claims (NSA) -- 3,236 3,285 -80.5 10,370 1,704 1,763
Continuing Claims Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (NSA) -- -- 5,825 -59.7 -- -- --
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.4 2.5

12.2
(June 2020)

7.1 1.2 1.2
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