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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Ease
by Tom Moeller  August 3, 2017

Initial filings for unemployment insurance fell to 240,000 (-9.7% y/y) during the week ended July 29 from 245,000 in the prior week, revised from 244,000. The figure matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average declined to 241,750 and remained near the 1973 low. 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 ticked higher to 1.968 million (-7.8% y/y) in the week ended July 22, following a decline to 1.965 million. The four-week moving average of claimants was little-changed at  1.965 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 July 15, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.58%), Indiana (0.50%), North Carolina (0.57%), Nebraska (0.55%), Utah (0.57%) and Florida (0.65%). The highest rates were found in California (2.07%), Rhode Island (2.10%), Alaska (2.25%), Pennsylvania (2.32%), Connecticut (2.50%) and New Jersey (2.71%). 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) 07/29/17 07/22/17 07/15/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 240 245 234 -9.7 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,968 1,965 -7.8 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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