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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Near 1973 Low
by Tom Moeller  October 6, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 249,000 (-6.7% y/y) during the week ended October 1 from an unrevised 254,000 in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 253,500, the lowest level since December 1973. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 257,000 claims in the latest week. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for jobless benefits eased 0.3% to 2.058 million (-7.1% y/y) in the week ended September 24, the lowest level since July 2000. The four-week moving average fell to 2.095 million.

The insured rate of unemployment was stable at 1.5% for the third straight week, near the record low.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to be quite disparate. The state data are not seasonally adjusted and are reported with a two-week lag. For the week ended September 17, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.27%), Nebraska (0.39%), North Carolina (0.58%), Utah (0.59%), Maine (0.73%) and South Carolina (0.78%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.61%), Massachusetts (1.64%), Pennsylvania (1.84%), Connecticut (2.03%), New Jersey (2.16%) and Alaska (2.57%).

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) 10/01/16 09/24/16 09/17/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 249 254 251 -6.7 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,058 2,064 -7.1 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Sep. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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