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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Jump
by Tom Moeller  May 16, 2013

The earlier decline in initial claims for unemployment insurance reversed course last week. They rose to 360,000 (-3.5% y/y) during the week ended May 11 from a revised 328,000 during the prior week, initially reported as 323,000. Consensus expectations were for 330,000 claims. The four week moving average of claims ticked up to 339,250. 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 May 4 fell to a new low of 3.009M (-9.1% y/y). The four week moving average of continuing claims fell to 3.015M. The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.3% where it's been for four weeks. 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 27, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients fell to a not seasonally adjusted 4.844M, (-22.8% 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 1.792 million (-32.8% y/y).

By state, the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with Virginia (1.23%), Louisiana (1.26%), Oklahoma (1.35%), Texas (1.47%), Florida (1.53%), South Carolina (1.65%), Missouri (1.77%) and Ohio (1.79%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (2.38%), New York (2.65%), Massachusetts (2.69%), Illinois (2.87%), (Nevada (2.96%), Wisconsin (3.02%), New Jersey (3.34%) and California (3.43%).

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. 

Will Labor Force Participation Bounce Back? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 05/11/13 05/04/13 04/27/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 360 328 327 -3.5 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 3,009 3,013 -9.1 3,318 3,744 4,544
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.3 2.3 2.6
2.6 3.0 3.6
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 4.844M -22.8 6.047M 7.750M 9.850M
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