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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Decline
by Tom Moeller  December 14, 2017

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 225,000 (-7.8% y/y) in the week ended December 9 from an unrevised 236,000 in the prior week. Expectations had been for 237,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average declined to 234,750. 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 fell to 1.886 million (-6.7% y/y) in the week ended December 2 from 1.913 million in the week prior. The four-week moving average of claimants rose slightly to 1.919 million, but remained near the lowest level since January 1974.

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

Insured rates of unemployment varied across the country. For the week ended November 25, near the low end of the range were South Dakota (0.44%), Indiana (0.49%), Nebraska (0.53%), Virginia (0.68%), Georgia (0.76%) and Colorado (0.84%). At the high end were Massachusetts (1.60%), New York (1.65%), Illinois (1.73%), Pennsylvania (1.94%), California (2.30%) and New Jersey (2.38%). 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) 12/09/17 12/02/17 11/25/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 225 236 238 -7.8 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,886 1,913 -6.7 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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