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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Tick Higher W/W; Remain Near Lowest Since 2007
by Tom Moeller  August 8, 2013

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose slightly to 333,000 (-9.5% y/y) during the week ended August 3 from 328,000 in the prior week, initially reported as 326,000. The latest figures remained the lowest since early-November 2007. Last week's number compared to an expected 335,000 in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four week moving average of claims fell to a new low of 335,500. 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 July 27 increased to 3.018 million (-9.2% y/y) from 2.951 million. The four week moving average of continuing claims slipped to 3.024 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 20, the latest figure available, the grand total of all benefit recipients slipped to a recovery low 4.521 million, (-21.4% 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 dropped to another cycle low of 1.516 million (-37.2% y/y).

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with North Dakota (0.65%), Virginia (1.25%), Indiana (1.53%), Ohio (1.61%), Texas (1.66%), Colorado (1.69%), Maine (1.71%) and Vermont (1.75%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Hawaii (2.02%), Michigan (2.21%), Illinois (2.75%), New York (2.77%), California (3.00%), Pennsylvania (3.33%), Alaska (3.52%) and New Jersey (3.66%).

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) 08/03/13 07/27/13 07/20/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 333 328 345 -9.5 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 3,018 2,951 -9.2 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) -- -- 4.521 mil. -21.4 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil. 9.850 mil.
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