1st-time Unemployment Insurance Drop to 6-Month Low

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • 211,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended March 16, a DECLINE of 5.000 from the prior week’s downwardly revised 216,000 (originally 221,000);
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims FELL 3,250 to 217,250;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.138 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.140 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,760,000 for the week ended March 9, UP 13,000 from the previous week’s downwardly REVISED 1,743,000 (from 1,750,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims DROPPED 4,250 to 1,751,250.


  • First -time claims fell to the lowest level since last September (28 weeks)
  • Initial claims have now fallen for three weeks in a row for only the second time since last May
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims fell for the first time since last December

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment insurance claims

With revisions dating back to 2014, the Department of Labor painted a rosier picture of the jobs market showing a lower level of initial (and continued) claims for unemployment insurance than had previously been reported.

And, indeed, data for the most recent week also suggested a calming in the labor market, free of the noise from the partial government shutdown. With the numbers looking better, the Labor Department data showed the first decline in continued claims since December and only the second since last fall. A drop in continued claims typically means stronger hiring – even stronger than we’ve seen in recent months

You can hear Mark Lieberman tomorrow and every Friday at 6:20 am on the Morning Briefing on P.O.T.U.S. radio @sxmpotus, Sirius-XM 124.

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