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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Ease
by Carol Stone, CBE  October 18, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 210,000 (-8.7% y/y) during the week ended October 13 from 215,000 in the prior week; the earlier figure was revised up 1,000. The latest report was in line with the Action Economics Forecast Survey at 210,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims was 211,750, up from the prior week's 209,750. The October 13 amount is the smallest since December 6, 1969, when there were 202,000 initial claims; the smallest on record was 162,000 the week ended November 30, 1968. These data begin January 7, 1967.

In the week ending October 6, 2018, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 13,000 to 1.640 million (-13.8% y/y) from 1.653 million a week earlier; that earlier number was revised down by 7,000. The 1.640 million is the smallest weekly amount since August 4, 1973. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1,653,000. This is again, as it was the previous week, the lowest four-week average since August 18, 1973, 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 vary widely by state. During the week ended September 29, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.19%), North Dakota (0.30%), Nebraska (0.31%), Indiana (0.42%), and Florida (0.45%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.43%), Connecticut (1.58%), California (1.64%), Alaska (1.84%), and New Jersey (1.87%). Among other of the largest states by population, the rate was 1.14% in New York and 0.87% in Texas. 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) 10/13/18 10/06/18 09/29/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 210 215 207 -8.7 245 262 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,640 1,653 -13.8 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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