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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Plunge to 2000 Low
by Tom Moeller  January 29, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 265,000 during the week ended January 24 from 308,00 during the prior week, revised from 307,000. It was the lowest level of claims since April 2000. Adjusting for the timing of the Martin Luther King holiday may have been a factor in the decline, according to a government spokesman. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 298,500. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 300,000 claims in the latest week. During the last ten years there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 17 fell to 2.385 mil. from 2.456 mil. in the earlier week, revised from 2.443 mil. The four-week moving average increased to 2.439 mil., the highest level since early-December.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.8% for the third week.

By state, in the week ended January 10 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Florida (0.97%), North Carolina (1.10%), Virginia (1.10%), Oklahoma (1.13%), Louisiana (1.19%) and South Carolina (1.24%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (2.91%), California (3.02%), Rhode Island (3.22%), Montana (3.27%), Pennsylvania (3.33%) and New Jersey (3.68%). 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) 01/24/15 01/17/15 01/10/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 265 308 317 -23.2 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,385 2,456 -17.8 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.8 1.8 2.2
2.0 2.3 2.6
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