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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Slip
by Tom Moeller  March 15, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance claims fell to 226,000 during the week ended March 10 from 230,000 in the prior week, revised from 231,000. Claims remain near the lowest level since December 1969. Expectations had been for 227,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average eased to 221,500. 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 March 3, continuing claims for unemployment insurance were little changed at 1.879 million (-6.9% y/y). The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1.891 million, the lowest level since January 1974.

The insured rate of unemployment held at the record low of 1.3%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended February 24, the lowest rates of unemployment were found in Florida (0.48%), North Carolina (0.53%), Georgia (0.67%), Tennessee (0.69%), Virginia (0.72%) and Indiana (0.79%. The highest rates were in Massachusetts (2.72%), Montana (2.86%), Rhode Island (2.90%), New Jersey (2.97%), Connecticut (2.99%) and Alaska (3.64%). 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) 03/10/18 03/03/18 02/24/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 226 230 210 -7.9 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,879 1,875 -6.9 1,962 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.3

(Mar. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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