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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Unexpectedly Notch Higher
by Tom Moeller  May 30, 2013

Initial unemployment insurance claims increased to 354,000 (-7.3% y/y) during the week ended May 25 from a revised 344,000, initially reported as 340,000. Consensus expectations were for 340,000 claims. The four week moving average of claims rose to 347,250 from 340,500. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended May 18 increased to 2.986M (-9.0% y/y) from the low of 2.923M. The four week moving average of continuing claims fell to a cycle-low of  2.987M. The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.3% where it's been for six 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 May 11, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients ticked up w/w to 4.579M, (-25.4% 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 fell to a new low of 1.727 million (-34.1% y/y).

By state, the insured unemployment rate continued to vary greatly with Nebraska (1.04%), Louisiana (1.13%), Virginia (1.22%), Texas (1.48%), Florida (1.53%), Tennessee (1.55%), South Carolina (1.67%) and Ohio (1.77%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (2.10%), Maryland (2.29%), New York (2.52%), Illinois (2.67%), Wisconsin (2.62%), (Nevada 2.85%), California (2.89%) and New Jersey (3.15%).

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) 05/25/13 05/18/13 05/11/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 354 344 363 -7.3 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 2,986 2,923 -9.0 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) -- -- 4.579M -25.4 6.047M 7.750M 9.850M
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