1st Time Unemployment Claims Rise But Still Show Improving Labor Market

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 233,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended October 19, UP 10,000 from the prior week;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended October12 was revised UP 1,000 to 223,000;
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims DROPPED 9,000 to 239,500, the fourth straight weekly decline;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.156 percent of employment, down from 0.162 percent one week earlier and the lowest since late August;
  • The number of continued claims – reported on a one-week lag – for the week ended October 12 was 1,893,000, DOWN 3,000 from the previous week and the lowest since December 29, 1973 when it was 1,805,000;
  • The four-week moving average of continuing claims DROPPED 4,500 to 1,903,500.

Image result for unemployment insurance clip art

The labor market appears fully recovered from storms which battered Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, at least according to the weekly report of first time claims for unemployment insurance reported by the Department of Labor.

Initial claims fell sharply in Florida and were essentially unchanged in Texas for the week ended October 19 although they did increase in Puerto. But the Labor Department noted the claims procedure in Puerto Rico remains disrupted because of hurricane Maria.

Be that as it may, the numbers continue to look good. Since mid-September – the “reference week” used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for developing the monthly Employment Situation report – initial claims dropped 14 percent and the four-week moving average declined 7.5 percent, a good sign for the unemployment rate.

The n umber of continued claims – a surrogate for hiring – is down (meaning more people with jobs) a little under one percent and the four week moving average is down just over two 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. You can follow him on Twitter at @foxeconomics.

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