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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decrease 16,000
by Carol Stone, CBE  May 16, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 16,000 to 212,000 (-4.1% year-on-year) during the week ended May 11 from an unrevised reading of 228,000 in the previous week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a smaller decline to 223,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 225,000 from 220,250.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance stood at 1.660 million (-4.4% y/y) in the week ending May 4, from 1.688 million in the prior week, which was revised up from 1.684 million. The four-week moving average of claimants edged up to 1.668 million from 1.667 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at the record low 1.2%, where it has been for a whole year now, 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 April 27th, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.33%), Nebraska (0.34%), Florida (0.39%), North Carolina (0.43%) and Indiana (0.45%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.67%), Connecticut (1.87%), California (2.01%), New Jersey (2.25%), and Alaska (2.46%). Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above the rate was 0.91% in Texas, 1.48% in New York and 1.63% in Illinois. 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) 05/11/19 05/04/19 04/27/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 212 228 230 -4.1 220 244 262
Continuing Claims -- 1,660 1,688 -4.4 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(May 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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