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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Rise
by Tom Moeller  September 22, 2022

• Increase reverses half of prior week’s decline.

• Continued weeks claimed fall slightly.

• Insured unemployment rate holds near record low.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 213,000 (-43.9% y/y) during the week ended September 17 from 208,000 during the prior week, which was revised from 213,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 214,000 initial claims for last week. The 4-week moving average of initial claims fell to 217,000 last week from 223,000 in the prior week. It was the lowest level since the first week of June and down from 250,000 in the first week of August.

In the week ended September 10, continued weeks claimed for unemployment insurance fell to 1.379 million (-49.0% y/y) from 1.401 million in the prior week, revised from 1.403 million. It as the lowest level of continuing claims since the first week of July.

The insured unemployment rate remained at 1.0% for a tenth consecutive week. The insured unemployment rate has been fluctuating between 0.9% and 1.0% since April, a record-low range for the series, which dates back to 1971.

In the week ended September 3, the total number of continued weeks claimed in all unemployment insurance programs was 1.296 million (-88.5% y/y), nearly a 36-year low. 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 vary widely across states. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending September 3 were in New Jersey (2.01%), California (1.69%), Rhode Island (1.44%), Puerto Rico (1.59%), New York (1.62%) and Connecticut (1.18%). The lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.12%), Alabama (0.23%), North Dakota (0.22%), Nebraska (0.28%) and Kansas (0.28%). Other state insured rates of unemployment in regular programs include Pennsylvania (1.08%), Illinois (1.00%), Texas (0.77%) and Florida (0.43%). 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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