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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Remain on an Uptrend
by Kathleen Stephansen, CBE  August 4, 2022

• Initial claims rose 6,000 in the July 30 week.

• The previous week was revised down slightly by 2,000.

• Continued claims rose 48,000 in the July 23 week.

• The insured unemployment rate remained at 1.0%.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance filed in the week ended July 30 rose 6,000 to 260,000 (-37.2% y/y), from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 2,000 from 256,000 to 254,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected 253,000. The recent low for claims was 166,000 in the week of March 19. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose to 254,750, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 500 from 249,250 to 248,750. This is the highest four-week average since last November 2021.

In the week ended July 23, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance rose 48,000 to 1.416 million from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up 9,000 from 1.359 million to 1.368 million. The insured unemployment rate remained unchanged at 1%, the third week in a row. The insured unemployment rate has been fluctuating between 0.9% and 1.0% since April (a record-low range).

In the week ended July 16, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs was 1.473 million, a decrease of 3,890 from the previous week. A 36-year low of 1.282 million was 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 insured rates of unemployment in regular programs across states vary widely. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending July 16 were in Puerto Rico (2.25%), New Jersey (2.12%), California (1.88%), Connecticut (1.90%), Rhode Island (1.82%), New York (1.61%), Pennsylvania (1.50%), and Massachusetts (1.48%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.18%), Virginia (0.30%), and Kansas (0.31%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Illinois (1.20%), Texas (0.88%), Ohio (0.70%) and Florida (0.46%). 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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