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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Claims Slightly Lower
by Carol Stone, CBE  August 18, 2022

• Initial claims eased by 2,000; previous week revised down 10,000.

• Continued weeks claimed rose 7,000 in the August 6 week.

• The insured unemployment rate holds in recent record low range.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance went down 2,000 in the week ended August 13 to 250,000 (-38.3% y/y). The number for the August 6 week was revised down by 10,000 to 252,000. In last week’s release, the number for the July 30 week was revised down by 12,000 from its original tally. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 264,000 in the August 13 week. The 4-week moving average of initial claims was 246,750, a decrease of 2,750 from the previous week's revised average. That was revised down by 2,500 from 252,000 to 249,500.

In the week ended August 6, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance rose 7,000 to 1.437 million from the previous week; that was 1.430 million, revised up 2,000 from 1.428 million. The insured unemployment rate remained at 1.0%, the fifth 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 23, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs was 1.481 million, an increase of 2,696 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 30 were in Connecticut (2.36%), New Jersey (2.10%), California (1.91%), Rhode Island (1.83%) and Massachusetts (1.62%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.19%), Alabama (0.32%), Kansas (0.33%), Virginia (0.34%) and North Carolina (0.36%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include New York (1.61%), Pennsylvania (1.56%), Illinois (1.18%), Texas (0.86%) and Florida (0.48%). 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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