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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Increase
by Tom Moeller  January 12, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance filings rose to 247,000 (-11.8% y/y) during the week ended January 7 following a decline to 237,000 in the prior week, revised from 235,000. The latest level remained near the lowest since November 1973. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey called for 252,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims eased to 256,500, and has been fairly steady since September.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined to 2.087 million (-7.2% y/y) in the week of December 31 from 2.116 million. The four-week moving average of claimants increased also to 2.087 million and has risen slightly from the prior two months.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.5%, which is also the average since September. The record low of this 45-year-old series was 1.4% in the week ended November 5.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended December 24, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.55%), North Carolina (0.62%), Virginia (0.76%), Tennessee (0.77%), South Dakota (0.82%) and Nebraska (0.88%). The highest rates were found in California (2.16%), Pennsylvania (2.43%), Connecticut (2.43%), New Jersey (2.64%), Montana (2.75%) and Alaska (4.84%). 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) 01/07/17 12/31/16 12/24/16 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 247 237 267 -11.8 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 2,087 2,116 -7.2 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Dec. 2015)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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