–Initial Claims Up 22k Vs March 17 Employment Survey Week
–Alaska Estimated, Otherwise Nothing Unusual In State Data
–Continuing Claims Rise After Declining For 5 Straight Weeks

By Brai Odion-Esene and Kevin Kastner

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment
benefits fell much less than expected in the April 14 employment survey
week, down by a mere 2,000 to 386,000, the Labor Department reported

Economists surveyed by MNI had forecast a larger drop in initial
claims for the April 14 week, with the median estimate at 370,000 —
down from the 380,000 level initially reported in last week’s data. The
claims level for the April 7 week was revised up to 388,000.

In a survey week comparison, initial claims were up by 22,000
compared to the March 17 week — when the payrolls survey for the March
employment report was conducted.

A Labor Department analyst said there was nothing unusual in the
state level data, with only claims for Alaska estimated.

The analyst said seasonal factors had expected a mild decline of
about 5.4% or 20,959 in unadjusted initial claims for the April 14 week.
The actual drop in unadjusted claims was close to the expectation —
down 5.9% or 22,916 to a level of 367,550. Unadjusted claims were at a
level of 381,834 in the comparable week a year ago.

The initial claims seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average was
374,550 in the April 14 employment survey week, an increase of 5,500
from the previous week and the highest since the January 28 when it came
in at 376,750.

The state data released for the April 7 week indicated unadjusted
initial claims increased in 50 states and declined in 3 states. The
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands are included in
this data.

After marching lower for five consecutive weeks, Continuing claims
experienced an uptick in the April 7 week, rising by 26,000 to 3.297
million after seasonal adjustment.

Unadjusted continuing claims fell to 3,432,102 in the April 7 week,
a decline of 37,981 and below the 3,893,218 level in the comparable week
a year earlier.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate remained at 2.6%
in the April 7 week from the previous week, and was down sharply from
the 3.0% rate in the comparable week a year earlier.

The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below
that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are
approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and
labor force reentrants included in the monthly report.

The Labor Department said that the level of unadjusted Emergency
Unemployment Compensation benefits claims fell by 19,419 in the March 31
week, bringing that category to 2,775,134. Extended benefits claims
dipped by a mere 234 to 426,673 not seasonally adjusted in the same

The Labor Department reported that a total of 6,765,080 persons
claimed unemployment benefits in the March 31 week, a decline of 187,807
from the previous week and well below the 8,300,372 persons in the
comparable week a year ago. These data are not seasonally adjusted, and
include regular state claims, federal employee claims, new veterans
claims, the EUC and extended benefits programs, state additional
benefits, and STC/Workshare claims.

** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **