Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Drop to 49-year Low

By Mark Lieberman

Managing Director and Senior Economist


  • There were 209,000 1st time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ended April 21 a DECREASE of 24,000 from the prior week;
  • The number of initial claims for the week ended April 14 was REVISED UP 1,000 to 233,000;
  • The four-week moving average of first-time claims FELL 2,500 to 229,250;
  • Four-week moving average represented 0.148 percent of employment, DOWN from 0.149 the previous week;
  • The number of continued claims –individuals who have been collecting unemployment insurance — reported on a one-week lag, was 1,837,000 for the week ended April 14, DOWN 29,000 from the previous week’s UPWARDLY REVISED 1,866,000;
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims FELL 9,750 to 1,849,750.


  • The 209,000 new claims for unemployment insurance was the lowest since December 6, 1969, when 207,000 claims were filed;
  • The 24,000 week-week drop in filings was the largest decline since January 13 when filings fell 45,000 week-week;
  • The number of first-time claims for unemployment insurance remained below 250,000 for the 15th straight week. [350,000 is considered by labor economists to be the “tipping point” between a robust and weak labor market.]
  • The four-week moving average of continued claims fell to its lowest level since January 5, 1974, when it was 1,838,500

Data Source: Department of Labor

Image result for claims for unemployment insurance

Claims for unemployment insurance continue to fall at a remarkable pace, falling for 9 of the first 15 weeks this year with an average wee-week decline of 12,400.

The ongoing drop in claims filings suggests a true labor shortage may be in the offing which, while bad news for employers could be good news for job-seekers and jobholders if employers respond to the shortage with wage increases.

The next employment situation report May 4 should show if employers are hiking pay or increasing overtime; either way should mean more in worker pockets.

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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