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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Unexpectedly Reach New Low
by Tom Moeller  October 16, 2014

Initial unemployment insurance claims during the week ended October 11 fell to 264,000 (-25.6% y/y) from an unrevised 287,000 during the prior week. It was the lowest level of claims since April 2000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected near-stability at 290,000 claims in the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 284,000. During the last ten years, there has been a 73% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended October 4 ticked up to 2.389 million (-17.3% y/y), the lowest level since May 2006. The four-week moving average fell to 2.404 million. The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.8% for the fifth straight week, the lowest level since May 2007.

By state, in the week ended September 27, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with North Dakota (0.26%), Nebraska (0.64%), Indiana (0.84%), Virginia (0.89%), Ohio (1.03%) and Texas (1.21%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.06%), Nevada (2.09%), Pennsylvania (2.13%), California (2.32%), Connecticut (2.36%) and New Jersey (2.77%). 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.

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/11/14 10/04/14 09/27/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 264 287 288 -25.6 343 375 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,389 2,382 -17.3 2,977 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.8 1.8 2.2
2.3 2.6 3.0
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