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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Reverse Earlier Gains
by Tom Moeller  February 6, 2014

Initial claims for unemployment insurance matched expectations and declined to 331,000 (-8.3% y/y) during the week ended February 1. That's versus 351,000 during the week prior, revised from 348,000. It was the first decline in three weeks. The four-week moving average of initial claims held fairly steady at 334,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 25 increased to 2.964 million (-7.9% y/y). The four-week moving average increased to 2.986 million, its highest level since early August. The insured rate of unemployment held at 2.3% for the fourth straight week. 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 18, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients declined to 3.468 million (-38.0% 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 in 2007.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Louisiana (1.28%), Texas (1.55%), Florida (1.60%), North Carolina (1.91%), Indiana (2.06%) and Ohio (2.43%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (3.00%), California (3.27%), Massachusetts (3.38%), Wisconsin (3.53%), Illinois (3.67%), Connecticut (4.00%) and Pennsylvania (4.15%). 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 expectations figure is from the Action Economics survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 02/01/14 01/25/14 01/18/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 331 351 329 -8.3 343 374 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,964 2,949 -7.9 2.980 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.3 2.3 2.4
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 3.468 mil. -38.0 4.659 mil. 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil.
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