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Economy in Brief

US Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Fall Unexpectedly
by Sandy Batten   November 25, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly fell to 260,000 in the week ending November 21 from a slightly upwardly revised 272,000 the previous week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had looked for an unchanged reading of 271,000. The four-week moving average was unchanged at 271,000, still hovering around its 15-year low. When adjusted by the size of the labor market or population, the current level of claims is the lowest in its more than 65-year history.

In the week ending November 14, continuing claims for unemployment insurance (reported with a one-week lag) edged up to 2.207 million (but were still down 5.6% from a year earlier). The four-week moving average also edged up to 2.182 million but remained near a 15-year low.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.6%, its lowest reading since June 2000.

The insured rate of unemployment across states continued to vary within a wide range. The lowest was in South Dakota (0.3%), followed by Nebraska (0.5%) and North Dakota (0.6%). At the other end of the spectrum, the highest rates were in Alaska (3.6%), New Jersey (2.4%) and Pennsylvania (2.1%). The by-state data are not seasonally adjusted and reported with a two-week lag relative to the headline figure.

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) 11/21/15 11/14/15 11/07/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 260 272 276 -14.19 307 342 372
Continuing Claims -- 2,207 2,173 -5.64 2,607 2,978 3,308
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6

(Nov. 2014)

2.0 2.3 2.6
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