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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise from 48-Year Low
by Tom Moeller  March 8, 2018

Initial unemployment insurance claims increased to 231,000 (-7.2% y/y) during the week ended March 3. Claims during the prior week were unrevised at 210,000, the lowest level since December 1969. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for 219,000 claims. The four-week moving average nudged higher to 222,500. 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

In the week ended February 24, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 1.870 million (-9.0% y/y) from 1.934 million. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 1.907 million, the lowest level since January 1974.

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

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended February 17, the lowest rates of unemployment were found in Florida (0.51%), North Carolina (0.56%), Georgia (0.69%), Virginia (0.72%), Tennessee (0.76%) and Indiana (0.81%. The highest rates were in Massachusetts (2.56%), Rhode Island (2.66%), Montana (2.83%), New Jersey (2.89%), Connecticut (2.93%) and Alaska (3.95%). 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.

Economic Forecasts with the Yield Curve from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 03/03/18 02/24/18 02/17/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 231 210 220 -7.2 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,870 1,934 -9.0 1,962 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.4

(Feb. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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