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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Little Changed
by Carol Stone, CBE  February 1, 2018

Initial unemployment insurance applications edged down to 230,000 (-8.0% y/y) during the week ended January 27 from 231,000 claims in the prior week, revised from 233,000. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for a modest increase to 235,000 claims. The four-week moving average fell to 234,500. 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 20, continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 1.953 million (-5.3% y/y) from 1.940 million. The four-week moving average of claimants rose to 1.933 million.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended January 13, the lowest rates were in several southern states: Florida (0.52%), North Carolina (0.54%), Georgia (0.75%), and Tennessee (0.76%); Indiana was fifth lowest (0.77%). Alaska was again the high (4.02%); next were New Jersey (2.95%), Montana (2.77%), Connecticut (2.70%) and Pennsylvania (2.61%). 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) 01/27/18 01/20/18 01/13/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 230 231 216 -8.0 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,953 1 ,940 -5.3 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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