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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Decline Sharply
by Tom Moeller  April 26, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell sharply to 209,000 (-17.1% y/y) from a revised 233,000 in the prior week, initially reported as 232,000. Expectations had been for 231,000 initial claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average eased to 229,250 from 230,000. 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 14, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 1.837 million (-7.4% y/y) from 1.866 million. It was the lowest level since December 1973. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1.850 million from 1.860 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 April 7, the lowest rates of unemployment were Florida (0.45%), North Carolina (0.47%), Indiana (0.58%), Virginia (0.62%), Georgia (0.63%) and Mississippi (0.67%). The highest rates were in Rhode Island (2.01%), Montana (2.04%), California (2.16%), Connecticut (2.43%), New Jersey (2.67%) and Alaska (3.09%). 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) 04/21/18 04/14/18 04/07/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 209 233 233 -17.1 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,837 1,866 -7.4 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.3

(Apr. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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