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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Increase
by Tom Moeller  November 23, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims increased 18,000 (-4.9% y/y) to 251,000 during the week ended November 19 following a fall to 233,000 claims in the week prior, revised from 235,000. It remained the lowest level of claims since November 1973. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 251,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 250,000 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 increased 3.0% to 2.043 million (-6.1% y/y) in the week ended November 12, the lowest level since June 2000. The four-week moving average was little changed at 2.025 million.

The insured rate of unemployment increased to 1.5% from the record low of 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. For the week ended November 5, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.30%), Nebraska (0.40%), Utah (0.60%), North Carolina (0.60%), South Carolina (0.80%) and Maine (0.80%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.60%), Massachusetts (1.70%), Pennsylvania (1.80%), Connecticut (2.00%), New Jersey (2.20%) and Alaska (3.30%). 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) 11/19/16 11/12/16 11/05/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 251 233 254 -4.9 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,043 1,983 -6.1 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.4

(Nov. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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