News Number of the Day A Measure of People on Unemployment Hits Record Low Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance By Diccon Hyatt Diccon Hyatt Diccon Hyatt has written hundreds of articles about how public policy and the economy intersect with personal finance, tracking all the latest dynamics affecting your money. Before joining The Balance, he covered business and community news for 17 years, including Princeton, New Jersey's high-tech Route 1 Corridor. learn about our editorial policies Published on April 21, 2022 Share Tweet Pin Email That’s the percentage of the workforce that was collecting unemployment benefits for the week that ended April 9, the lowest in data going back to 1971 and a sign of how robust the job market is these days. The insured unemployment rate of 1%, seasonally adjusted, was down from 1.1% the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday, and it meant that 1.42 million people were receiving checks under the government’s unemployment insurance program. The rate was a stark contrast from where it was at the height of the pandemic in 2020, when it climbed as high as 15.9%. “The labor market remains in excellent shape as the spring quarter begins,” PNC Senior Economic Advisor Stuart Hoffman wrote in a commentary. “Firms are competing for workers and bidding up wages.” The job market is so good, in fact, that it might look a little too good to people at the Federal Reserve, economists said. Fed officials have worried about a “wage price spiral” taking hold, in which employers raise pay to attract scarce workers, then raise prices of goods and services to pay for the wage increases, driving inflation higher. The Fed is in the midst of a campaign to clamp down on inflation, already at 8.5%, by raising its benchmark interest rate, a move that could tame price increases by raising the cost of borrowing money, but potentially at the cost of causing a recession and increasing unemployment. The insured unemployment statistic is not to be confused with the overall unemployment rate, which counts unemployed people whether they’re collecting insurance checks or not. The unemployment rate includes people who don’t qualify for unemployment benefits and those who have exhausted their benefits, and it’s calculated using a government survey of a representative sample of households. The general unemployment rate is also extremely low now at 3.6%.Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to read more content like this? Sign up for The Balance’s newsletter for daily insights, analysis, and financial tips, all delivered straight to your inbox every morning! Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Department of Labor. "Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims." Federal Reserve. "Speech By Chair Powell on The Economic Outlook."