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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decrease 5,000 to Yet Another 50-Year Low
by Carol Stone, CBE  April 18, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased to 192,000 (-15.4% year-on-year) during the week ended April 13 from 197,000 the week before, which was revised up by 1,000. This is the lowest level of claims since October 4, 1969, when it was also 192,000; the lowest ever was 162,000 in the week of November 30, 1968. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 205,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 201,250; that's the lowest since November 1969.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined 63,000 to 1.653 million (-10.7% y/y) in the week ending April 6; the previous week's number was 1.716 million, revised marginally from 1.713 million. The four-week moving average of claimants decreased to 1.712 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at its record low 1.2%, where it has been since May 2018. Data on the insured unemployment rate go back to 1971.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending March 30, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.39%), North Carolina (0.45%), Tennessee (0.52%), Nebraska (0.53%) and Georgia (0.54%), all modestly lower than the week before. The highest rates were in Rhode Island (2.16%), Connecticut (2.18%), California (2.20%), New Jersey (2.41%), and Alaska (2.80%). Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above, the rate was 0.94% in Texas, 1.52% in New York, 2.02% in Illinois and 2.04% in Pennsylvania. These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment claims going back to 1967 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) 04/13/19 04/06/19 03/30/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 192 197 204 -15.4 220 244 262
Continuing Claims -- 1,653 1,716 -10.7 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Apr. 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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