1st-time and Continued Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall…Again

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 209,000 1st-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended Aug 3, 2019, a DECREASE of8,000from the previous week’s upwardly revised 217,000 (from 215,000);
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims ROSE 250 to 212,250;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.135 percent of employment, unchanged from the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,684,000 for the week ended July 27, DOWN 15,000 from the previous week’s UNREVISED 1,699,000;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 11,000 to 1,687,250;


  • The four-week moving average of initial claims rose for the first time in five weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of initial claims as a percentage of total employment fell for the 11th straight week;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims fell for the third time in the last four weeks;

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment insurance claims

The weekly report on unemployment insurance claims continued to sprinkle good news about the labor market with a low level of new claims. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey earlier this week reaffirmed the trend showing a month-month decline in layoffs and discharges, the fourth in the last six months. Since the beginning of the year, layoffs and discharges have averaged 1,746,000 per month, down 4.1 percent from 1,821,000 per month last year.

At the same time, continued claims for unemployment insurance remained on a downward trajectory, again consistent with other labor department statistics. The continued claims numbers match up with the monthly Employment Situation data showing a steady decline in the number of re-entrants to the labor force classified as unemployed. Coupled with the drip in continued claims, the data on re-entrants suggest individuals having success in securing jobs from unemployment rolls.

At the same, time while the number of individuals unemployed for fewer than five weeks rose in July, that number too has generally been falling, also supporting the low levels of new unemployment insurance claims.

Indeed, the number of individuals unemployed for five weeks or less has averaged 2,123,000 per month this year down almost 4 percent from the same period last year.

You can hear Mark Lieberman every Friday at 6:20 am on POTUS’ Morning Report, Sirisu-XM 124. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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