1st-time Unemployment Insurance Claims Remain at Elevated Level

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist

Highlights

  • There were 230,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended April 27, UNCHANGED from the previous week;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims ROSE 6,500 to 212,500;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.135percent of employment, UP from 0.131 percent the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who had been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,671,000 for the week ended April 20, UP 17,000 from the previous week’s downwardly REVISED 1,654,000 (from 1,655,000)
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims DROPPED 13,750 to 1,673,750.

Trends:

  • First time this year initial unemployment insurance claims have not declined for two straight weeks; last time was the last two weeks of December;
  • The increase in initial claims broke a string of five consecutive weekly declines;
  • The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell for the sixth straight week – for the first time since last August to October — to the lowest level of the year

Data Source: Department of Labor

Though it won’t be reflected in the Employment Situation release Friday, first-time claims for unemployment insurance remained at a (relatively) elevated level for the week ended April 27.

Coming in to Easter week, the year-to-date weekly average of initial claims had been just under 218,000, and the last time the number of claims was as high as 230,000 was during the government shutdown which idled contractor employees who were not assured of receiving back pay for the work time missed.

Still we should see another strong labor market report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Forecasts call for 189,000 to 220,000 new jobs in April in part because the Census Bureau added temporary workers in the run-up to next year’s population count.

That would support data from the weekly claims reports. From mid-March to mid-April – the reference points for the monthly report – initial claims fell 23,000 and the four-week moving average of first-time claims dropped 19,000 both pointing to a possible improvement in the unemployment rate. The number of continued claims and four-week moving average of continued claims fell 101,000 and 63,500 during the same span suggesting those previously unemployed may have gotten new jobs.

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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