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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Near Recovery Low
by Tom Moeller  April 25, 2013

The economic recovery continues to strengthen the labor market. Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 339,000 (-11.0% y/y) during the week ended April 20 from a revised 355,000 during the prior week, initially reported as 352,000. Consensus expectations were for 351,000 claims. The latest was the lowest level since the week of March 9. The four week moving average of claims fell to 357,500. 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 April 13 fell to 3.000M (-10.3% y/y), the lowest since early-May, 2008. The four week moving average of continuing claims slipped to 3.072M. The insured rate of unemployment nudged lower to 2.3%. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of April 6, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to a not seasonally adjusted 5.071M, (-24.1% y/y. That compares to a cycle peak of 12.060M in January 2010. The number of individuals who are collecting emergency and extended payments was 1.79 million (-34.4% y/y).

By state, the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with Louisiana (1.24%), Virginia (1.32%), Texas (1.46%), Florida (1.50%), South Carolina (1.75%), Indiana (1.81%), Missouri (1.94%) and Ohio (2.11%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (2.82%), Nevada (2.88%), New York (3.05%), Illinois (3.37%), California (3.39%), Wisconsin (3.51%), Pennsylvania (3.57%) and New Jersey (3.73%).

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. 

Commercial Real Estate and Low Interest Rates from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.


Unemployment Insurance (000s) 04/20/13 04/13/13 04/06/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 339 355 348 -11.0 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 3,000 3,093 -10.3 3,318 3,744 4,544
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.3 2.4 2.6
2.6 3.0 3.6
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 5.071M -24.1 6.047M 7.750M 9.850M
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