1st Time Unemployment Claims Move Up Following Florence

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,661,000 for the week ended September 14, UP 16,000 from the previous week’s UNREVISED 1,645,000;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 12,500 to 1,679,250.
  • There were 214,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended September 21 an INCREASE of 13.000 from the prior week’s unrevised report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims ROSE 250 to 206,000;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.132 percent of employment, UNCHANGED from the previous week;


  • The number of first-time claims INCREASED for the first time in four weeks;
  • Four-week moving average of initial claims HAS FALLEN for the fifth straight week;
  • The week-week increase in continuing claims was the largest since the end of July;

Data Source: Department of Labor 

Image result for unemployment insurance claims

In the first report on initial claims for unemployment insurance, first-time claims rose a relatively modest 13,000 (seasonally adjusted).

According to the Labor Department, the unadjusted number of claims rose about 7,500 with the increases in North and South Carolina alone totaling 9,934.  In the same week, the number of first-time claims from Kentucky (northwest of the Carolinas) increased 4,461 and California 1,377. The increase in claims in North Carolina was 369 percent from the previous week and in South Carolina, the increase was 129 percent.

Overall, from mid-August to mid-September first-time claims fell 9,000 and the four-week moving average rose 8,000. Continued claims fell 49,000 from mid-August to mid-September while the four-week average of continued claims dropped 52,000.

Those movements point to a decline in unemployment (from the current population (household) survey and an uptick in jobs (from the establishment survey.

The only caveat may be the response rate from employers, particularly in the storm-affected areas which may be more concerned about getting their businesses up and running again than completing a government survey.

Following Superstorm Sandy in 2012, the collection rate of the establishment survey dipped to 70.3 from a year-to-date average of 73.8 percent but jumped to 93.3 percent before the first revised employment situation report for August; in 2005 the initial response rate was 60.8 percent (compared with a year-to-date average of 68.1 percent.

You can hear Mark Lieberman 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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