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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Increase
by Tom Moeller  November 16, 2017

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 249,000 (4.2% y/y) during the week ended November 11 from an unrevised 239,000 in the prior week. Expectations had been for 234,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average rose to 237,750 but remained near the record low. 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 declined to 1.860 million (-7.3% y/y) in the week ended November 4 from 1.904 million the week prior. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.887 million, the lowest point since January 1974.

The insured unemployment rate returned to the record low of 1.3%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied across the country. For the week ended October 28, the lowest insured rates of unemployment were in South Dakota (0.26%), Nebraska (0.39%), North Dakota (0.46%), Indiana (0.46%), North Carolina (0.47%) and Utah (0.53 %). The highest rates continued to be in Massachusetts (1.57%), Pennsylvania (1.67%), Connecticut (1.82%), California (1.89%), New Jersey (2.06%) and Alaska (2.86%). These 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) 11/11/17 11/04/17 10/28/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 249 239 229 4.2 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,860 1,904 -7.3 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.4

(Nov. 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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