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Unemployment Insurance Claims

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Unemployment insurance claims, a closely followed economic indicator, have trended sharply downward over the last two months. In the week ending January 22, the four-week moving average reached 344,500 claims, the lowest level since the most recent recession ended. Typically, initial claims increase sharply when a recession begins and fall immediately after it ends. This was not the case for the last two recessions, 1990–91 and 2001. During the recovery periods that followed them, sometimes called “jobless recoveries,” the number of initial claims stayed high for several months before starting to fall. Of the two, the post-2001 recovery went on longer before initial claims dropped below 400,000, the level typically associated with employment growth.

Suggested citation: "Unemployment Insurance Claims," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 04-02, pp. 13, 02.01.2004.

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