Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Drop; Fail to Reverse Prior Week’s Increase

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 233,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended April 7 a DECREASE of 9,000 from the prior week;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended March 31 was UNCHANGED at 242,000;
  • The four-week moving average of first time claims ROSE 1,750 to 230,000;
  • Four week moving average represented 0.148 percent of employment, UP from 0.147 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims –individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,871,000 for the week ended March 31, UP 53,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,818,000;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims DECLINED 1,500 to 1,850,250;

Data Source: Department of Labor


  • The drop in the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance did not offset last week’s increase which was the largest since the hurricane-inflated 62,000 for the week ended last September 2;
  • The number of first time claims for unemployment insurance though remained below 250,000 for the 13th straight week.
  • Continued claims for unemployment insurance dropped This is the lowest level for this average since January 5, 1974 when it was 1,838,500.

Image result for unemployment

While unemployment insurance claims remain in a low zone, labor economists are bracing for a tariff impact when the higher cost of imported good – due to retaliatory levies – starts to cut into profits of US-based companies which rely heavily on imported goods.

There are of course ways around the higher tariffs but they could come at the cost of American jobs. In 2003, a study by the U.S. International Trade Commission found some steel consumers in response to higher tariffs on steel, shifted from importing steel to importing assembled steel part which were not subject to the higher duties. To the extent the tariff war has an impact on jobs, statistically it will likely show up in claims for unemployment insurance as workers are laid off.

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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