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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall To New Low
by Tom Moeller  August 1, 2013

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell sharply to 326,000 (-10.9% y/y) during the week ended July 27 from 345,000 in the prior week, initially reported as 343,000. It was the lowest reading since January 2008. The latest figure compared to an expected 344,000 in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four week moving average of claims slipped to 341,250. 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 July 20 declined to 2.951 million (-10.2% y/y) from 3.003 million. The four week moving average of continuing claims held roughly steady at 3.026 million. The insured rate of unemployment held at 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 July 13, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients slipped to 4.695 million, (-21.3% y/y). That compares to a cycle peak of 12.060 million in January 2010. The number of individuals who were collecting emergency and extended payments reached another cycle low of 1.565 million (-38.2% y/y).

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Virginia (1.28%), Oklahoma (1.42%), Indiana (1.62%), Texas (1.64%), Colorado (1.69%), Ohio (1.72%), Maine (1.75%) and Tennessee (1.78%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Washington (2.09%), Michigan (2.65%),  Illinois (2.79%), New York (2.83%), Pennsylvania (3.44%), California (3.44%), Connecticut (3.49%) and New Jersey (3.65%).

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) 07/27/13 07/20/13 07/13/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 326 345 336 -10.9 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 2,951 3,003 -10.2 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) -- -- 4.695 mil. -21.3 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil. 9.850 mil.
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