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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Fall
by Sandy Batten  April 28, 2022

• Initial claims fell 5,000 to 180,000.

• Continued weeks claimed also eased to lowest in more than 50 years.

• Insured unemployment rate retained record low of 1.0%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended April 23 fell by 5,000 to 180,000 (-68.6% y/y) from a slightly upwardly revised 185,000 in the previous week (initially 184,000). The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 180,000 claims for the latest week. The 4-week moving average of initial claims increased to 179,750 from 177,500 in the prior week.

In the week ended April 16, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance fell to 1.408 million from 1.409 million in the previous week (initially reported as 1.417 million). This was the lowest reading since February 7, 1970. The insured unemployment rate retained the record low of 1.0% reached in the prior week.

In the week ended April 9, the number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs continued to fall, declining to 1.516 million from 1.621 in the prior week. This total includes federal employees, newly discharged veterans, extended benefits and other specialized programs and is not seasonally adjusted. 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 April 9 were in California (2.21%), New Jersey (2.15%), Alaska (1.87%), Minnesota (1.79%) and New York (1.64%). The lowest rates were in Utah (0.18%), Virginia (0.19%), Alabama (0.19%), North Carolina (0.29%), Kansas (0.30%) and Nebraska (0.31%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.50%), Pennsylvania (1.32%), 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.

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