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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Increased in Latest Week
by Sandy Batten  May 5, 2022

• Initial claims rose 19,000 to 200,000.

• Continued weeks claimed fell further to lowest since January 1970.

• Insured unemployment rate retained record low of 1.0%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended April 30 rose to 200,000 (-61.3% y/y) from a slightly upwardly revised 181,000 in the previous week (initially 180,000). The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 180,000 claims for the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 188,000 from 180,000 in the prior week.

In the week ended April 23, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance fell to 1.384 million from 1.403 million in the previous week (initially reported as 1.408 million). This was the lowest reading since the week ended January 17, 1970. The insured unemployment rate retained the record low of 1.0% for the third consecutive week.

In the week ended April 16, the number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs continued to fall, declining to 1.478 million from 1.514 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 16 were in California (2.09%), New Jersey (2.07%), Alaska (1.87%), Minnesota (1.64%) and New York (1.59%). The lowest rates were in Alabama (0.19%), Virginia (0.20%), Kansas (0.29%), Nebraska (0.29%), North Carolina (0.30%) and New Hampshire (0.30%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.48%), Pennsylvania (1.32%), Texas (0.80%) and Florida (0.39%). 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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