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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Remain at 1973 Low
by Tom Moeller  October 13, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance filings held steady at 246,000 (-6.1% y/y) during the week ended October 8. The prior week's level was revised from 249,000. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 249,250, the lowest level since November 1973. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 253,000 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 declined 0.8% to 2.046 million (-6.4% y/y) in the week ended October 1. The four-week moving average fell to 2.070 million, the lowest point since July 2000.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.5% for the fourth straight week, near the record low.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. The state data are not seasonally adjusted and are reported with a two-week lag. For the week ended September 24, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.26%), Nebraska (0.39%), North Carolina (0.57%), Utah (0.58%), Maine (0.71%) and South Carolina (0.77%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.60%), Massachusetts (1.65%), Pennsylvania (1.87%), Connecticut (2.01%), New Jersey (2.14%) and Alaska (2.70%).

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) 10/08/16 10/01/16 09/24/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 246 246 254 -6.1 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,046 2,062 -6.4 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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