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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Increase
by Tom Moeller  April 27, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance claims rose to 257,000 during the week ended April 22 from 243,000 in the prior week, revised from 244,000. It was the highest level of claims in four weeks. Expectations had been for 241,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average held fairly steady at 242,250, the lowest level since late-February. 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 15 rose to 1.988 million (-7.1% y/y) from 1.978 million. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 2.007 million, the lowest level since June 2000.

The insured unemployment rate held at 1.4% and matched the record low.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended April 8, the lowest rates were in North Carolina (0.51%), Nebraska (0.52%), Tennessee (0.60%), South Carolina (0.67%), Georgia (0.68%) and Virginia (0.70%). The highest rates were found in Massachusetts (2.17%), Rhode Island (2.17%), California (2.33%), Connecticut (2.44%), New Jersey (2.55%) and Alaska (3.46%). 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) 04/22/17 04/15/17 04/08/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 257 243 234 -1.5 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,988 1,978 -7.1 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(Apr 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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