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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rebound
by Tom Moeller  August 22, 2013

Initial unemployment insurance claims rebounded to 336,000 (-10.2% y/y) in the week ended August 17 from 323,000 during the week prior, initially reported as 320,000. The figure remained nearly the lowest since October 2007. It compares to an expected 328,000 in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims fell to 330,500, another low for the economic recovery.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey week for August nonfarm payrolls and claims were unchanged from the July period. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% inverse correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended August 10 rose to 2.999 million (-9.3% y/y) from 2.970 million. The four-week moving average of continuing claims slipped to 2.986 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 August 3, the latest figure available, the total of all benefit recipients declined to 4.439 million (-20.7% y/y). This broader measure is not seasonally adjusted. It compares to a cycle peak of 12.060 million in January 2010. The number of individuals who were collecting emergency and extended payments fell sharply to 1.501 million (-35.5% y/y), a new cycle low.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.48%), Virginia (1.24%), Oklahoma (1.39%), Indiana (1.49%), Ohio (1.57%, Texas (1.60%), Tennessee (1.61%) and Georgia (1.64%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (1.94%), Massachusetts (2.31%), New York (2.71%), Illinois (2.72%), Nevada (2.81%), California (2.99%), Pennsylvania (3.23%) and New Jersey (3.58%).

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.

Yesterday's statement regarding the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 08/17/13 08/10/13 08/03/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 336 323 335 -10.2 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 2,999 2,970 -9.3 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) -- -- 4.439 mil. -20.7 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil. 9.850 mil.
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