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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Ease, Hover Slightly Above Record Low
by Carol Stone, CBE  April 21, 2022

• Initial claims down 2,000 to 184,000.

• Continued weeks claimed also ease to lowest in 52 years.

• Insured unemployment rate ticks down to 1.0%, new record low.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended April 16 eased by 2,000 to 184,000 (-67.5% y/y) from 186,000 filed the week before; that was revised modestly from 185,000 reported initially. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 178,000 claims for the latest week. The 4-week moving average of initial claims increased to 177,250 from 172,750 in the prior week.

In the week ended April 9, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance decreased 58,000 to 1.417 million, the smallest amount since February 21, 1970. The April 2 week’s amount was unrevised at 1,475 million. The insured unemployment rate wet a new record low of 1.0%, down from the previous record low of 1.1%, which had held for the previous four weeks.

In the week ended April 2, the number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs continued to fall, declining to 1.622 million from 1.710 million in the prior week. This total includes federal employees, newly discharged veterans, extended benefits and other specialized programs. Claims in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation are no longer included in the main Labor Department press release, since 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 New Jersey (2.27%), California (2.22%), Alaska (1.96%), Minnesota (1.95%) and New York (1.74%). Illinois (2.09%) and Rhode Island (2.07%), The lowest rates were in Virginia (0.19%), Alabama (0.20%), North Carolina (0.31%), Kansas (0.32%) and Nebraska (0.34%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.67%), Pennsylvania (1.48%), Texas (0.75%) and Florida (0.38%). 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) 04/16/22 04/09/22 04/02/22 Y/Y % 2021 2020 2019
Initial Claims 184.0 186.0 168.0 -67.5 476.8 1,354.1 218.4
Initial Claims (NSA) 196.9 224.1 195.0 -66.2 469.2 1,352.1 217.6
Continuing Claims -- 1,417.0 1,475.0 -62.5 3,256.9 10,383.7 1,697.2
Continuing Claims (NSA) -- 1,476.0 1,571.0 -61.5 3,251.8 10,369.7 1,703.6
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.0 1.1

2.7
(Apr 2021)

2.3 7.1 1.2
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