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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Fall to New Low Since 1973
by Carol Stone, CBE  March 29, 2018

Initial applications for jobless insurance fell to 215,000 during the week ended March 24 from 227,000 in the prior week. That March 17 number is revised from 229,000, and all seasonally adjusted data back through 2013 underwent annual seasonal adjustment revisions. The latest initial claims are the smallest amount since January 27, 1973, when they were 214,000. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for 228,000 claims. The four-week moving average decreased to 224,500.

In the week ended March 17, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 1.9% to 1.871 million (-8.1% y/y). The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1.862 million; this is the lowest level since January 5, 1974, when it was 1.838 million.

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

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended March 10, the lowest rates of unemployment were still in the South: Florida (0.47%), North Carolina (0.51%), Georgia (0.64%), Tennessee (0.67%), and Virginia (0.67%). The highest rates were in Massachusetts (2.44%), Rhode Island (2.47%), Montana (2.54%), Connecticut (2.78%), New Jersey (2.85%), and Alaska (3.45%). 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) 03/24/18 03/17/18 03/10/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 215 227 226 -15.0 244 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,871 1,836 -8.1 1,962 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.3

(Mar. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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