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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Ease
by Tom Moeller  December 15, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 254,000 (-7.6% y/y) in the week ended December 10 following an unrevised decline to 258,000 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 to 257,750. 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 increased to 2.018 million (-10.1% y/y) from 2.007 million. The four week moving average of claimants also rose to 2.038 million.

The insured rate of unemployment held near the record low at 1.5%.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. For the week ended November 26, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.53%), Nebraska (0.58%), North Carolina (0.59%), Florida (0.60%), Indiana (0.76%) and Georgia (0.83%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.81%), Massachusetts (1.90%), Pennsylvania (2.09%), Connecticut (2.18%), New Jersey (2.51%) and Alaska (4.50%). 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) 12/10/16 12/03/16 11/26/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 254 258 268 -7.6 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,018 2,007 -10.1 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Dec. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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