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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Edged Down
by Sandy Batten  June 30, 2022

• Initial claims decreased 2,000 to 231,000 in the week ended June 25.

• Continued weeks claimed edged lower and remained in range that prevailed in late 1960s.

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

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended June 25 declined by 2,000 to 231,000 (-43.0% y/y) from 233,000 in the previous week (revised up from 229,000). Weekly claims have been trending up modestly over the past few months but remain historically quite low and still indicative of tight labor-market conditions. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected 230,000 claims for the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 231,750 from 224,500 in the prior week.

In the week ended June 18, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance fell by 3,000 to 1.328 million; the prior week was revised up 16,000 to 1.331 million. Continued claims remain near their recent low of 1.306 million reached in the week of May 21, which was the lowest reading since the week ended December 27, 1969. The insured unemployment rate edged down to 0.9%, a series low first reached in the week ended May 7, from an upwardly revised 1.0% in the previous week (originally 0.9%).

In the week ended June 11, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs rose to 1.314 million from 1.297 million in the previous week, the second consecutive weekly increase from a 36-year low of 1.282 million reached in the week of May 28. 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, 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 June 11 were in New Jersey (1.82%), California (1.78%), Pennsylvania (1.41%), Alaska (1.40%) and New York (1.38%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.18%), Alabama (0.24%), Virginia (0.26%), New Hampshire (0.27%) and Kansas (0.31%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.16%), Texas (0.86%), Ohio (0.66%) and Florida (0.40%). 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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