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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Decrease Slightly
by Carol Stone, CBE  June 16, 2022

• Initial claims decrease 3,000 to 229,000 in the week ended June 11.

• Continued weeks claimed edge higher by 3,000, holding in range prevailing in late 1960s.

• The insured unemployment rate maintains series low of 0.9%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended June 11 declined by 3,000 to 229,000 (-46.6% y/y); the June 4 week's initial claims were revised up by 3,000 to 232,000. Weekly claims have been trending up modestly over the past few months but remain historically quite low and indicative of rather tight labor-market conditions. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000 claims for the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 218,500 from 215,750 in the prior week.

In the week ended June 4, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance rose 3,000 to 1.312 million; the prior week was revised up by 3,000 to 1.309 million. The week before that, which ended May 21, with 1.306 continued weeks claimed, was the lowest count since the week ended December 27, 1969. The insured unemployment rate remained at the series low of 0.9% first reached in the week ended May 7.

In the week ended May 28, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs decreased to 1.282 million, the lowest since January 1986, from 1.284 million in the previous 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 May 28 were in California (1.78%), New Jersey (1.77%), Alaska (1.54%), New York (1.37%) and Pennsylvania (1.35%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.15%), Alabama (0.22%), New Hampshire (0.26%), Virginia (0.27%0) and Kansas (0.29%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.10%), Texas (0.78%), Ohio (0.57%) and Florida (0.37%). 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.

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