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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise Slightly
by Tom Moeller  December 3, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 269,000 (-10.7% y/y) in the week ending November 28 from an unrevised 260,000 the previous week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 267,000 filings. The four-week moving average eased to 269,250 and remained near the 15-year low. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

In the week ending November 28, continuing claims for unemployment insurance edged higher to 2.161 million, still down 10.0% from a year earlier. The four-week moving average eased to 2.167 million and remained near the 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 were South Dakota (0.4%), Nebraska (0.6%), North Dakota (0.7%), Indiana (0.7%), Virginia (0.7%) and Tennessee (0.8%). At the other end of the spectrum were Massachusetts (1.8%), Connecticut (2.1%), Pennsylvania (2.2%), California (2.2%), New Jersey (2.5%) and Alaska (4.0%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted and reported with a two-week lag versus 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) 11/28/15 11/21/15 11/14/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 269 260 272 -10.7 307 342 372
Continuing Claims -- 2,161 2,155 -10.0 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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