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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline
by Carol Stone, CBE  August 16, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased to 212,000 during the week ended August 11 from 214,000 the week before, which was revised up by 1,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey called for a 215,000 reading. The four-week moving average edged upward to 215,500 from 214,500. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the month-on-month change in nonfarm payrolls.

In the week ending August 4, continuing claims for unemployment insurance decreased to 1.721 million from 1.760 million a week earlier; that earlier figure was revised upward slightly. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.738 million from 1.746 million in the prior week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at its record low of 1.2%, where it's been since early May.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ended July 28, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.27%), Nebraska (0.43%), Indiana (0.45%), North Carolina (0.49%) and North Dakota (0.51%). The highest rates were in New Jersey (2.48%), Connecticut (2.25%), Pennsylvania (2.06%), California (1.93%) and Alaska (1.91%). Among the largest states by population, the rate was 1.07% in Texas, 1.48% in New York, and 0.57% in Florida. 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) 08/11/18 08/04/18 07/28/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 212 214 219 -10.2 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,721 1,760 -11.8 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

1.4
(Aug 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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