1st Time Unemployment Insurance Claims Rise; Hint at Temperate Jobs Report Next Week

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 217,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended July 21 an INCREASE of 9.000 from the prior week’s upwardly revised (207,000 to 208,000) report;
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims DROPPED 2,750 to 218,000;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.140 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.142 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,745,000 for the week ended July 14, DOWN 8,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,753,000 (revised from 1,751,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims ROSE 9,500 to 1,745,750.


  • Year-to-date, initial claims have averaged 237,580, down 2.7 percent from the 244,138-year-to-date average in 2017, marking the 38th straight week of year-year decline in the YTD average,
  • The 52-week average of first-time claims is 234,462, down 500 in the last week; the 52-wee-moving-average has improved for 15 straight weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims increased for the third consecutive week, the longest stretch this year.

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for unemployment insurance

There was nowhere to go but up.

After dropping to a 49-year low last week, the number of initial claims for unemployment rose modestly in the week ended last Saturday, July 21.

Still, at 217,000, the number of first-time claims remains near historic lows.

The report portends a mixed result for the Employment Situation release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics due out August 3.

From mid-June to mid-July the number of 1st time claims dropped 10,000 and the four-week moving average of 1st time claims inched down 500. While not pointing to a decrease in the 4.0 percent unemployment rate, the numbers don’t suggest an increase either.

The numbers for continued claims – an increase of 38,000 from mid-June to mid-July in claims themselves and an increase of 36,000 in the four-week moving average – hint that the number of new jobs created in July may disappoint. In June the nation created 213,000, on par with the three-month moving average of 211,000 new jobs.

The possibility of weak jobs numbers could also mean no significant change in average hourly or weekly earnings.

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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