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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Slip To Another Five-Year Low 
by Tom Moeller  January 24, 2013

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 330,000 (-11.3% y/y) during the week ended January 19 versus an unrevised 335,000 a week earlier. Consensus expectations were for 355,000 claims. The four week moving average of claims fell to 351,750, a new low for the economic recovery. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 12 declined to 3.157M (-11.1% y/y). The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.5%, near the lowest level since July 2008. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of January 5, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to 5.660M, down 26.2% from a year ago. That compares to a cycle peak of 12.060M in January 2010.

By state, the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with Virginia (1.59%), Texas (1.70%), Florida (1.70%), North Dakota (1.73%), Tennessee (2.16%), Indiana (2.33%) and Ohio (2.66%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (3.50%), California (3.68%), Illinois (3.84%), Massachusetts (3.90%), Michigan (4.24%), New Jersey (4.40%) and Pennsylvania (4.81%).

Data on weekly unemployment insurance are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database and they are summarized monthly in USECON. Data for individual states are in REGIONW. The consensus estimates come from the Action Economics survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.


Unemployment Insurance (000s) 01/19/12 01/12/12 01/05/12 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 330 335 375 -11.3 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 3,157 3,228 -11.1 3,318 3,744 4,544
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.5 2.5 2.8
2.6 3.0 3.6
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.660M -26.2 6.047M 7.750M 9.850M
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