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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Fall to Two-Month Low
by Tom Moeller  November 21, 2013

The job market is showing more signs of improvement. Initial claims for jobless insurance fell to 323,000 (-19.3% y/y) during the week ended November 16 from 344,000 during the previous week, revised up from 339,000. It was the lowest level of claims since the last week of September. Expectations had been for 332,000 claims in the Action Economics survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 338,500, the lowest level in five weeks.

The latest figure covers the survey period for November nonfarm payroll employment. There was a 27,000 decline (-7.7%) in initial claims from the October period. 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 November 9 rose to 2.876 million (-13.5% y/y). The four-week moving average of continuing claims edged up to 2.857 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 November 2, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients slipped to 3.875 million (-26.1% 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 November 2 declined to 1.302 million (-39.6% y/y).

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Nebraska (0.88%), New Hampshire (1.10%), Virginia (1.10%), Florida (1.32%), Ohio (1.42%), Vermont (1.50%) and Texas (1.51%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were the District of Columbia (2.37%), Illinois (2.43%), California (2.60%), Pennsylvania (2.72%), Connecticut (2.75%), New Jersey (2.96%), and Alaska (4.88%). These data are not seasonally adjusted.

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) 11/16/13 11/09/13 11/02/13 Y/Y % 2012 2011 2010
Initial Claims 323 344 341 -19.3 375 409 459
Continuing Claims -- 2,876 2,810 -13.5 3,318 3,744 4,544
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- -- 2.2 2.6
(11/12)
2.6 3.0 3.6
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 3.875 mil. -26.1 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil. 9.850 mil.
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