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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Filings Slip
by Tom Moeller  October 31, 2013

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 340,000 (-7.4% y/y) during the week ended October 26 from an unrevised 350,000 during the prior week. The Labor Department indicated that no claims were due to a processing difficulties in California. For last week, the Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 340,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 356,250, its highest level since late-May. 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 19 rose to 2.881 million (-11.3% y/y). The figure remained up from the early-September low of 2.788 million. The four-week moving average of continuing claims slipped to 2.879 million. The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.2%, where it's been since late-August. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of October 12, the latest figure available, the total of all benefit recipients increased slightly to 3.896 million (-22.6% 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 collecting emergency and extended payments in the week of October 12 fell to 1.318 million (-37.2% y/y), a new low for the economic recovery.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.36%), Virginia (1.13%), Florida (1.19%), Tennessee (1.28%), Indiana (1.37%), Georgia (1.42%) and Texas (1.42%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (1.96%), Wisconsin (2.07%), Illinois (2.34%), Pennsylvania (2.55%), California (2.70%), New Jersey (2.92%) and Alaska (3.86%).

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) 10/26/13 10/19/13 10/12/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 340 350 362 -7.4 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 2,881 2,850 -11.3 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) -- -- 3.896 mil. -22.6 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil. 9.850 mil.
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