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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Slip
by Tom Moeller  August 21, 2014

Initial claims for jobless insurance during the week ended August 16 eased to 298,000 from 312,000 in the prior week, revised from 311,000. The latest figure compared to expectations for 300,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 300,750.

The latest claims figure covers the survey week for August nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 5,000 (-1.7%) from the July period. During the last ten years there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended August 9 fell to 2.500 million (-16.1% y/y), a new low for the recovery, and the four-week moving average slipped to 2.528 million. The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.9% for the sixth consecutive week.

By state in the week ended August 2, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Utah (0.88%), Wyoming (1.07%), Indiana (0.97%), Virginia (1.02%), Florida (1.33%) and Texas (1.42%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Illinois (2.20%), Massachusetts (2.52%), Rhode Island (2.62%), California (2.80%), Connecticut (3.06%) and New Jersey (3.35%). 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) 08/16/14 08/09/14 08/02/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 298 312 290 -11.8 343 375 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,500 2,549 -16.1 2,977 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- -- 1.9 2.3
2.3 2.6 3.0
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