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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Are Little Changed
by Tom Moeller  April 19, 2018

Initial unemployment insurance claims slipped to 232,000 (-6.1% y/y) during the week ended April 14 from an unrevised 233,000 in the prior week. Expectations had been for 230,000 initial claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average rose to 231,250 from 230,000.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey week for April nonfarm payrolls. Claims rose 5,000 (2.2%) from the similar period in March. During the last ten years, there has been a 73% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

In the week ended April 7, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 1.863 million (-6.0% y/y) from 1.878 million. It was the lowest level since December 1973. The four-week moving average of claimants edged up to 1.859 million from 1.852 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 31, the lowest rates of unemployment were Florida (0.46%), North Carolina (0.48%), Indiana (0.62%), Virginia (0.63%), Georgia (0.66%) and Mississippi (0.68%). The highest rates were in Montana (2.12%), Rhode Island (2.26%), California (2.33%), Connecticut (2.56%), New Jersey (2.61%) and Alaska (3.32%). 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.

Can Low-Wage Workers Find Better Jobs? from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 04/14/18 04/07/18 03/31/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 232 233 242 -6.1 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,863 1,878 -6.0 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.3

1.4
(Apr. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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