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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Ease
by Tom Moeller  April 13, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance claims slipped to 234,000 during the week ended April 8 (-9.3% y/y) from 235,000 in the prior week, revised from 234,000. It was the lowest level of claims in six weeks. Expectations had been for 245,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average fell to 247,250. 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 in the week ended April 1 eased to 2.028 million (-6.9% y/y) from 2.035 million. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 2.026 million, the lowest level since June 2000.

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

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended March 25, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.52%), North Carolina (0.54%), Tennessee (0.67%), Georgia (0.68%), South Carolina (0.69%) and Virginia (0.73%). The highest rates were found in Montana (2.37%), California (2.42%), Rhode Island (2.58%), Connecticut (2.82%), New Jersey (2.90%) and Alaska (3.66%). 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 Forecast Survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 04/08/17 04/01/17 03/25/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 234 235 259 -9.3 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 2,028 2,035 -6.9 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Apr 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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