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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Increase
by Tom Moeller  July 6, 2017

Initial claims for unemployment benefits during the week ended July 1 increased to 248,000 (-4.2% y/y) from an unrevised 244,000 in the prior week. Expectations called for 243,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average rose slightly to 243,000. During the last ten years, there has been a 72% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 1.956 million (-7.9% y/y) in the week ended June 24, the highest level in nine weeks. The four-week moving average of claimants increased to 1.945 million.

The insured unemployment rate remained at the record low of 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment continue to vary widely across the country. For the week ended June 17, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.31%), Nebraska (0.52%), Indiana (0.55%), North Carolina (0.55%), Florida (0.61%) and Tennessee (0.77%). The highest rates were found in Alaska (2.45%), New Jersey (2.14%), Connecticut (2.04%), California (2.00%), Illinois (1.75%) and Massachusetts (1.71%). These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

The unemployment insurance claims data begin January 2, 1971. 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) 7/01/17 06/24/17 06/17/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 248 244 242 -4.2 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,956 1,945 -7.9 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(June 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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