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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline
by Tom Moeller  July 13, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance claims fell to 247,000 during the week ended July 8 from 250,000, revised from 248,000, in the prior week. Expectations called for 245,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average rose slightly to 245,750, the highest level since early-April. 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 declined to 1.945 million (-9.8% y/y) in the week ended July 1 and reversed the  prior week's increase. The four-week moving average of claimants increased to 1.949 million, the highest level since late-April.

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 24, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.31%), Indiana (0.51%), Nebraska (0.52%), North Carolina (0.55%), Florida (0.64%) and Tennessee (0.82%). The highest rates were found in Alaska (2.38%), New Jersey (2.30%), Connecticut (2.30%), California (2.13%), Massachusetts (1.79%) and Illinois (1.77%). 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) 07/08/17 7/01/17 06/24/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 247 250 244 -5.0 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,945 1,965 -9.8 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(July 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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