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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Increase
by Tom Moeller  January 26, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance claims rose to 259,000 (-5.2% y/y) during the week ended January 21 from 237,000 claims in the prior week, revised from 234,000. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had called for 247,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims eased to 245,400, the lowest point since November 1973. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 2.100 million (-7.3% y/y) in the week of January 14 from 2.059 million. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 2.092 million, but has risen slightly during the prior two months.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.5%, which has been the average since September.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended January 7, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.54%), North Carolina (0.67%), Tennessee (0.81%), Virginia (0.85%), South Dakota (0.96%) and Nebraska (1.01%). The highest rates were found in California (2.58%), Pennsylvania (2.83%), Connecticut (2.98%), New Jersey (3.05%), Montana (3.13%) and Alaska (4.92%). 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.

Stuck in Part-Time Employment from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 01/21/17 01/14/17 01/07/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 259 237 249 -5.2 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 2,100 2,059 -7.3 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

1.6
(Jan. 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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