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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Fall Back
by Carol Stone, CBE  October 4, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 207,000 (-18.5% y/y) during the week ended September 29 from 215,000 in the prior week, which was revised up by 1,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey looked to a smaller decrease to 210,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims was 207,000, down slightly from the prior week's 206,500. The latest individual week's reduction likely reflects some recovery in activity as the impact of Hurricane Florence diminishes. Indeed, the advance estimates of initial claims in North Carolina fell 4,908, not seasonally adjusted, and in Kentucky, they fell 4,635.

In the week ending September 22, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 13,000 to 1.650 million (-13.7% y/y) from 1.663 million a week earlier; that earlier number was revised up by 2,000. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1,664,500. This is the lowest four-week average since October 27, 1973 -- almost 45 years -- when it was 1,664,250.

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

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended September 15, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.18%), Nebraska (0.32%), North Dakota (0.32%), Indiana (0.43%), North Carolina (0.45%) and Utah (0.46%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.50%), Connecticut (1.62%), California (1.68%), Alaska (1.73%), and New Jersey (1.93%). Among other of the largest states by population, the rate was 1.20% in New York, 0.91% in Texas and 0.48% 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) 09/29/18 09/22/18 09/15/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 207 215 202 -18.5 245 262 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,650 1,663 -13.7 1,961 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

1.4
(Sep 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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