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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Fall to Eight-Week Low
by Tom Moeller  September 17, 2015

Initial unemployment insurance claims declined to 264,000 (-18.0% y/y) during the week ended September 12 from an unrevised 275,000 during the prior week. It was the lowest level of claims since the third week of July. The four week moving average of claims eased to 272,500. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected an unchanged 275,000 initial claims in the latest week.

The latest figure covers the survey period for September nonfarm payrolls and claims fell 4.7% from August. 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.

In the week ended September 5, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 1.1% to 2.237 million (-10.7% y/y) from the previous week's 2.263 million. That four-week moving average eased to 2.256 million and has been moving sideways since mid-July.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.7%, near the lowest point since June 2000.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary with Nebraska (0.56%), Indiana (0.75%), New Hampshire (0.79%), Florida (0.87%), South Carolina (0.88%) and Maine (0.92%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.04%), California (2.24%), Alaska (2.26%), Connecticut (2.47%), Pennsylvania (2.49%) and New Jersey (2.93%). 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) 09/12/15 09/05/15 08/29/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 264 275 281 -18.0 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,237 2,263 -10.7 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.7 1.9
(8/14)
2.0 2.3 2.6
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