1st Time Unemployment Insurance Inch Up

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 218,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended July 28 an INCREASE of 1.000 from the prior week’s unrevised report;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims DROPPED 3,500 to 214,500;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.138 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.140 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims – individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,724,000 for the week ended July 21, DOWN 23,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,747,000 (revised from 1,745,000);
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 4,500 to 1,741,750.


  • Initial claims rose for the second week in a row and the fourth time in the last six weeks;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims has declined year-year for 42 straight weeks;
  • The drop in the four-week moving average of continued claims was the first in four weeks.

Data Source: Department of Labor 

Image result for unemployment claims

The Federal Open Market Committee in announcing its interest rate decision Wednesday said, “job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low” and the weekly report on first-time claims for unemployment insurance, despite an upward tick, put numbers behind the commentary. Noting recent trends, the FOMC said the labor market conditions “realized and expected.”

And so, the labor strength continues, with the numbers to be released tomorrow in the monthly Employment Situation release likely to provide further statistical reinforcement.

Only 12 of the 92 economic forecasts received by Reuters see the unemployment rate remaining at 4.0 percent with virtually all the others anticipating the unemployment rate will drop back to 3.9 percent. Three forecasters see it dropping further, to 3.8 percent, the level in May.

The more critical number to be reported Friday, to be sure, is the year-year growth in average weekly earnings which rose 2.5 percent in June, the smallest year-year increase since January when it went up 2.2 percent.

The claims report continued the pattern of the improving labor picture, unlikely to change unless it continues unable to resist pressures on several fronts: tariffs which could affect food production, manufacturing, and home building.

Last week’s report on Gross Domestic Product notwithstanding, the economy remains vulnerable.

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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