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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Show Modest Increase
by Carol Stone, CBE  October 11, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 214,000 (-11.2% y/y) during the week ended October 6 from 207,000 in the prior week, which was unrevised. The Action Economics Forecast Survey had expected a smaller increase to 210,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims was 209,500, up from the prior week's 207,000.

In the week ending September 29, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 4,000 to 1.660 million (-13.3% y/y) from 1.656 million a week earlier; that earlier number was revised up by 6,000. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1,656,000. This is the lowest four-week average since August 18, 1973 -- just over 45 years ago -- when it was 1,646,750.

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 (0.19%), Nebraska (0.302%), North Dakota (0.32%), Indiana (0.42%), North Carolina (0.43%) and New Hampshire (0.45%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.51%), Connecticut (1.61%), California (1.68%), Alaska (1.82%), and New Jersey (1.87%). Among other of the largest states by population, the rate was 1.15% in New York, 0.93% in Texas and 0.47% 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) 10/06/18 09/29/18 09/22/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 214 207 215 -11.2 245 262 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,660 1,656 -13.3 1,961 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Oct 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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