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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Meander Lower
by Tom Moeller  June 4, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance claims fell to 276,000 during the week ended May 30 following a rise to 284,000 in the prior week, initially reported as 282,000. The four week moving average rose to 274,750, the highest level since early in the month. 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.

By state, in the week ended May 16 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Virginia (0.81%), Georgia (0.93%), Kansas (1.12%), Idaho (1.24%), Michigan (1.29%) and Texas (1.53%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Maryland (1.59%), Massachusetts (1.98%), Nevada (2.17%), Pennsylvania (2.20%), California (2.42%) and New Jersey (2.47%). These data are not seasonally adjusted.

The insured rate of unemployment slipped back to 1.6% in the week ended May 23, the lowest point since November 2000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined to 2.196 million (-16.0% y/y) in the latest week. The four-week moving average fell to 2.214 million, the lowest level since November 2000.

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) 05/30/15 05/23/15 05/16/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 276 284 275 -12.9 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,196 2,226 -16.0 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.7 2.0
(05/14)
2.0 2.3 2.6
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