The latest weekly data on unemployment insurance claims shows a significant decline in Arkansas jobless claims over the past three weeks. During the week ending August 22, the preliminary estimate for new claims in Arkansas was 5,225, down from a weekly average of 13,785 during the month of July. Continuing claims for unemployment have also dropped sharply. Also referred to as “insured unemployment,” continuing claims fell from over 100,000 in early July to 44,500 in the week ended August 15.
On the national level, unemployment insurance claims have also been dropping, but not as abruptly as the declines in Arkansas. Just over one million new unemployment claims were filed in the week ending August 22, down from an average of 1,333,000 in the previous month. Continuing claims have steadily declined, falling from 17 million in mid-July to 14.5 million for the week ending August 15. From the week ending July 11 through the week ending August 15, U.S. insured unemployment declined by 10%, compared to the 55% decline in Arkansas.
Expressing continuing claims as a percentage of the insured labor force, the “insured unemployment rate” can be used to compare state and national numbers directly. Arkansas’ rate has fallen sharply over the most recent three weeks, down from 7.9% to 4.4% in the week ending August 8. Over the same period, the U.S. rate declined from 11.6% to 10.1%. In the week ending August 15, the U.S. insured unemployment rate dropped to just below 10%.