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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Unemployment Insurance Rise Slightly
by Tom Moeller  February 16, 2017

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 239,000 (-8.1% y/y) during the week ended February 11 from unrevised claims of 234,000 in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claims rose to 245,250, still near the lowest level since October 1973. Expectations had been for 245,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. 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 slipped to 2.076 million (-7.7% y/y) in the week of February 4 from 2.079 million. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 2.080 million.

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 28, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.55%), North Carolina (0.67%), Virginia (0.84%), Tennessee (0.85%), South Carolina (0.88%) and Nebraska (0.90%). The highest rates were found in California (2.50%), Pennsylvania (2.87%), Connecticut (3.00%), New Jersey (3.11%), Montana (3.16%) and Alaska (4.49%). 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) 02/11/17 02/04/17 01/28/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 239 234 248 -8.1 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 2,076 2,079 -7.7 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Jan. 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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