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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall to Lowest Level Since 2007
by Tom Moeller  April 10, 2014

The recovery in the labor market reached a milestone as initial claims for jobless insurance fell to 300,000 last week, the lowest level since May 2007. The decline was from 332,000 during the week of March 29, revised from 326,000. Expectations had been for 320,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims for jobless insurance declined to 316,250, nearly the lowest level since late-September. During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended March 29 declined to 2.776 million (-10.1% y/y), the lowest level since January 2008. The four-week moving average fell to 2.824 million. The insured rate of unemployment declined to 2.1% and matched the recovery low. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of March 22, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients fell sharply to 3.164 million (-40.1% 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 in 2007.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.88%), Virginia (1.21%), South Carolina (1.29%), Texas (1.48%), North Carolina (1.60%), Indiana (1.63%) and Ohio (1.96%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Maine (2.99%), Michigan (2.95%), Massachusetts (3.20%), Illinois (3.45%, California (3.58%), Connecticut (3.67%) and New Jersey (3.91%). 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.

Aggregate Labor Supply from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 04/05/14 03/29/14 03/22/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 300 332 310 -13.8 343 374 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,776 2,838 -10.1 2,980 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.1 2.2 2.4
(3/13)
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 3.164 mil. -40.1 4.659 mil. 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil.
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