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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Rose in Most Recent Week
by Sandy Batten  April 14, 2022

• Despite weekly increase, claims still around 50-year low.

• Continued weeks claimed edged down to lowest level since March 1970.

• Insured unemployment rate holds at record low.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance file in the week ended April 9 rose to 185,000 (-67.6% y/y) versus 167,000 claims file in the previous week, revised up slightly from 166,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 173,000 claims for the latest week. Notwithstanding the weekly rise, claims continue to hover around 50-year lows. The 4-week moving average of initial claims increased to 172,250 from 170,250 in the prior week.

In the week ended April 2, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance edged down to 1.475 million, the lowest level since March 1970, from an unrevised 1.523 million in the prior week. The insured unemployment rate held steady at a record low of 1.1%.

In the week ended March 26, the number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs continued to fall, declining to 1.703 million from 1.723 million in the prior week. This total includes federal employees, newly discharged veterans, extended benefits and other specialized programs. Continued claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation are no longer reported as both programs have expired.

The state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs vary widely. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 19 were in California (2.40%), New Jersey (2.37%), Alaska (2.16%), Illinois (2.09%) and Rhode Island (2.07%), The lowest rates were in Virginia (0.18%), Alabama (0.20%), North Carolina (0.32%), Tennessee (0.38%), Florida (0.39%) and New Hampshire (0.39%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include New York (1.93%), Pennsylvania (1.62%), Ohio (0.96%) and Texas (0.83%). 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 and is in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 04/09/22 04/02/22 03/26/22 Y/Y % 2021 2020 2019
Initial Claims 185.0 167.0 171.0 -67.6 476.8 1,354.1 218.4
Initial Claims (NSA) 222.5 194.4 196.8 -64.1 469.2 1,352.1 217.6
Continuing Claims -- 1,475.0 1,523.0 -61.5 3,256.9 10,383.7 1,697.2
Continuing Claims (NSA) -- 1,571.0 1,651.0 -59.7 3,251.8 10,369.7 1,703.6
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.1 1.1

(Apr 2021)

2.3 7.1 1.2
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