September 13, 2018

Initial Claims: Another 49-Year Record Low

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:26 pm

From the Department of Labor:

In the week ending September 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 204,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since December 6, 1969 when it was 202,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 2,000 from 203,000 to 205,000. The 4-week moving average was 208,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since December 6, 1969 when it was 204,500. The previous week’s average was revised up by 500 from 209,500 to 210,000.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 161,892 in the week ending September 8, a decrease of 11,665 (or -6.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 10,655 (or -6.1 percent) from the previous week. There were 211,923 initial claims in the comparable week in 2017.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.1 percent during the week ending September 1, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 1,492,538, a decrease of 107,457 (or -6.7 percent) from the preceding week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 94,117 (or -5.9 percent) from the previous week. A year earlier the rate was 1.2 percent and the volume was 1,699,145.

The link to the complete history of weekly claims is here.

  • A year ago (week ended September 9, 2017):
  • Single-week seasonally adjusted initial claims were 267,000. This week’s 204,00 figure is a mind-boggling 24 percent lower.
  • The four-week seasonally adjusted figure was 258,750. This week’s reported four-week average of 208,000 is 20 percent lower.
  • Unadjusted claims came in at 211,923. This year’s 161,892 is 24 percent lower.

Most people thought that the figures from a roughly a year ago (excluding the impact of last year’s hurricanes) were about as low as they would ever go. Nope. In the entire history presented at the linked table, we have never seen the four-week average of initial claims at a lower percentage of the covered workforce than what was reported today (0.0.14653 percent).

Hurricane Florence will likely change all of this temporarily, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from celebrating the fact that on the whole, we are in the best of times for those who want a job and who are willing to work to get one and work diligently to keep it.



  1. Tangentially related:

    SNAP monthly figures update 9/7/18:

    Jun 2018 – 39,344,449 tl 19,710,588 adults.

    Based on this chart below, we have a long way to go before any justification to claim that there is an actual labor shortage. What we have is a shortage of skilled labor due to employers use to cherry picking new employees instead of training them.
    17 million adults and children on SNAP in year 2000. Meaning we have an overhang of 10 million adults sitting on the sidelines needing to be trained. Maybe a job training credit should be offered to businesses?

    The Trump tax cut clearly demonstrates that relieving the burden of taxation from businesses CREATES jobs and the tax revenue is totally made back by those new jobs. A targeted tax credit to businesses would be justified since it will no doubt be mostly used on entry level unskilled and semi-skilled people.

    This is my optimistic view of the 10 million, it could be equally said that they maybe all or mostly illegal aliens in which case deportation is necessary for making themselves a burden to our society by coming across the border.

    Comment by dscott — September 15, 2018 @ 11:42 am

  2. Liberals spinning like a like a wind storm:

    Hurricane Florence pushes jobless claims down to new 49-year low

    Really? One state, South Carolina (23rd in size and less than 2% of the entire US population) gets to affect the entirety of the US jobless claims?

    As you read, you get the sense the author needs to excuse any piece of good news. The labor shortage narrative is definitely being pushed.

    a grudging admission:

    …Nonetheless, layoffs in the U.S. have been falling steadily for eight years and they soon could drop below 200,000 for the first time in 50 years…

    …Yet by any measure, layoffs in the U.S. are amazing low…

    population reference:

    Comment by dscott — September 20, 2018 @ 4:43 pm

  3. That’s ridiculous. A hurricane should send claims up.

    Comment by Tom — September 20, 2018 @ 7:49 pm

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