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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Trend Lower
by Tom Moeller  April 16, 2015

Initial claims for jobless insurance in the week ended April 11 nudged up to 294,000 (-3.5% y/y) from 282,000 in the prior week, revised from 281,000. Despite the rise, the four-week moving average of claims of 282,750 was nearly the lowest since June 2000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 280,000 claims in the latest week. During the last ten years, there has been a 76% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.7%, its lowest level since November 2000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended April 4 declined to 2.268 million (-16.8% y/y). The four-week moving average fell to 2.329 million, the lowest level since December 2000.

By state, in the week ended March 28, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Florida (0.81%), Tennessee (1.02%), Louisiana (1.14%), Texas (1.44%), Ohio (1.57%) and New Mexico (1.92%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (2.29%), Nevada (2.33%), California (2.62%), Massachusetts (2.91%), New Jersey (3.17%) and Alaska (3.88%). 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) 04/11/15 04/04/15 03/28/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 294 282 267 -3.5 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,268 2,308 -16.8 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.7 2.1
2.0 2.3 2.6
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