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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Increase
by Tom Moeller  January 30, 2014

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 348,000 (-7.0% y/y) during the week ended January 25 from 329,000 during the week prior, revised from 326,000. It was the highest level of claims since the second week of December. Expectations had been for 329,000 claims in the Action Economics survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims held fairly steady at a lower 333,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 18 fell to 2.991 million (-6.7% y/y). The four-week moving average increased to 2.970 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 January 11, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients declined to 3.584 million (-34.5% y/y) with the end of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program of 2008. 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 in 2007.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (1.03%), Florida (1.29%), Virginia (1.40%), Texas (1.66%), Indiana (1.90%), Alabama (2.03%) and Ohio (2.94%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (3.01%), Massachusetts (3.51%), California (3.52%), Illinois (3.83%), Pennsylvania (3.87%), Connecticut (4.18%) and New Jersey (4.23%). 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) 01/25/14 01/18/14 01/11/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 348 329 325 -7.0 343 374 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,991 3,007 -6.7 2.980 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.3 2.3 2.5
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 3.584 mil. -34.5 mil. 4.659 mil. 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil.
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