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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Near 1973 Low
by Tom Moeller  April 14, 2016

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell to 253,000 during the week ended April 9 from a little-changed 266,000 in the prior week. For the past year, claims have hovered near the lowest level since 1973. Expectations were for 270,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of claims eased to 265,000. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

In the week ending April 2, continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined to 2.171 million (-4.5% y/y) from 2.189 million. The four-week moving average fell to 2.178 million, a new low for the economic expansion.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.6%, the low point of the economic recovery.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were Florida (0.62%), South Dakota (0.62%), North Carolina (0.65%), South Carolina (0.80%), Utah, (0.87%), Virginia (0.89%) and Tennessee (0.89%). At the high end of the scale were Illinois (2.51%), Rhode Island (2.52%), Massachusetts (2.55%), Connecticut (2.70%), Pennsylvania (2.74%) and New Jersey (2.93%). The state 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) 04/09/16 04/02/16 03/26/15 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 253 266 276 -12.2% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,171 2,189 -4.5 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6

(Apr. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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