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Economy in Brief

U.S. Claims for Jobless Insurance Retreat
by Tom Moeller  December 8, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims declined to 258,000 (-7.5% y/y) in the week ended December 3 following an unrevised increase to 268,000 in the prior week. Expectations had been for 255,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four week moving average of claims rose slightly to 252,500. 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 unemployment insurance declined to 2.005 million (-10.1% y/y) from 2.084 million. The four week moving average of claimants fell to 2.039 million, its lowest level since early last month.

The insured rate of unemployment returned to a record low of 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. For the week ended November 19, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.38%), Nebraska (0.46%), Florida (0.49%), North Carolina (0.56%), Georgia (0.62%) and Indiana (0.69%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.55%), Massachusetts (1.68%), Pennsylvania (1.84%), Connecticut (2.01%), New Jersey (2.21%) and Alaska (3.82%). 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 (SA, 000s) 12/03/16 11/26/16 11/19/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 258 268 251 -7.5 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,005 2,084 - 10.1 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.5

(Dec. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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