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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise
by Tom Moeller  January 25, 2018

Initial unemployment insurance applications increased to 233,000 (-7.6% y/y) during the week ended January 20 from 216,000 claims in the prior week, revised from 220,000. Expectations had been for an increase to 235,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average fell to 240,000. 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.

In the week ended January 13, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 1.937 million (-7.3% y/y) from 1.965 million. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 1.920 million and was near the lowest level since January 1974.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended January 6, North Carolina (0.53%), Indiana (0.75%), Virginia (0.78%), South Dakota (0.82%), Nebraska (0.98%) and Georgia (0.97%) were at the low end of the range. At the high end remained California (2.31%), Montana (2.68%), Pennsylvania (2.90%), New Jersey (3.09%), Connecticut (3.13%) and Alaska (4.30%). 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) 01/20/18 01/13/18 01/06/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 233 216 261 -7.6 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1 ,937 1,965 -7.3 1,962 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(Jan. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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