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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Move Up
by Tom Moeller  May 28, 2015

The job market remains on a firm footing. Initial unemployment insurance claims increased to 282,000 during the week ended May 23 from 275,000 in the prior week, initially reported as 274,000. Despite the increase, the four week moving average nudged up only to 271,500 and remained near the lowest level since April 2000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 271,000 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 ticked up to 1.7% but remained at its lowest point since November 2000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance improved to 2.222 million (-15.5% y/y) in the latest week. The four-week moving average fell to 2.221 million, the lowest level since December 2000.

By state, in the week ended May 9 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.33%), Nebraska (0.64%), New Hampshire (0.78%), Indiana (0.81%), Georgia (0.93%) and Kansas (1.17%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New Mexico (1.75%), Massachusetts (1.99%), Nevada (2.17%), Pennsylvania (2.19%), California (2.40%) and New Jersey (2.49%). 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) 05/23/15 05/16/15 05/09/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 282 275 264 -8.7 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,222 2,211 -15.5 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.6 2.0
(05/14)
2.0 2.3 2.6
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