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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Remain Near 2000 Low
by Tom Moeller  May 7, 2015

The job market remains on solid ground. In the week ended May 2nd, initial claims for jobless insurance increased to 265,000 from an unrevised 262,000, the lowest levels in fifteen years. The four week moving average declined to 279,500. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 279,000 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% in the week ended April 25 for the sixth straight week, its lowest level since November 2000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined to 2.228 million (-17.0% y/y) in the latest week. The four-week moving average fell to 2.272 million, the lowest level since December 2000.

By state, in the week ended April 18 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.41%), Indiana (0.90%), Tennessee (0.93%), New Hampshire (0.99%), Alabama (1.28%) and Texas (1.50%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (1.99%), Montana (2.00%), Massachusetts (2.32%), Pennsylvania (2.49%), California (2.65%) and New Jersey (2.81%). 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) 05/02/15 04/25/15 04/18/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 265 262 296 -18.0 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,228 2,256 -17.0 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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