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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Drop Disappoints
by Tom Moeller  October 17, 2013

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 358,000 (-6.8% y/y) during the week ended October 12 from 373,000 during the prior week, initially reported as 374,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 342,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 336,500, its highest level since mid-July. The latest claims figure covers the survey period for October payroll employment where claims rose 47,000 (15.1%) from September. During the last ten years there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended October 5 fell to 2.859 million (-12.1% y/y). The figure remained up from the early-September low of 2.788 million. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose slightly to 2.876 million. The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 2.2%. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of September 28, the latest figure available, the total of all benefit recipients increased to 3.929 million (-21.5% y/y). This broader measure is not seasonally adjusted. It compares to a cycle peak of 12.060 million in January 2010 and pre-recession figures that averaged 2.596 million for 2007. The number of individuals who were collecting emergency and extended payments in the week of September 28 fell to 1.379 million (-34.3% y/y).

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Nebraska (0.83%), Virginia (1.09%), Ohio (1.30%), Indiana (1.39%), Maine (1.40%), Florida (1.44%) and Texas (1.45%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (1.94%), Wisconsin (1.95%), New York (2.28%), Illinois (2.34%), Pennsylvania (2.60%), California (2.92%) and New Jersey (3.04%).

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.

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/12/13 10/05/13 09/28/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 358 373 308 -6.8 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 2,859 2,902 -12.1 3,318 3,744 4,544
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.2 2.2 2.5
2.6 3.0 3.6
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 3.929 mil. -21.5 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil. 9.850 mil.
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