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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline to Four-Month Low
by Gerald D. Cohen  July 11, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 13,000 to 209,000 (-1.4% year-on-year) during the week ending July 6 from a slightly upwardly-revised reading of 222,000 in the previous week (was 221,000). While this is the lowest level of claims since mid-April, seasonal adjustment and reporting challenges around the July 4 holiday make these readings more difficult to interpret. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 221,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 219,250 from 222,500.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased 27,000 to 1.723 million (-1.3% y/y) in the week ending June 29, from an upwardly-revised 1.696 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claimants rose to 1.695 million from 1.689 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at the 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 June 22, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.25%), Nebraska (0.41%), Indiana (0.43%), Florida (0.46%), and North Carolina (0.46%). The highest rates were in California (1.76%), Alaska (1.77%), Pennsylvania (1.93%), New Jersey (2.00%), and Connecticut (2.12%). Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above the rate was 1.03% in Texas and 1.23% in New York. 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) 07/06/19 06/29/19 06/22/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 209 222 229 -1.4 220 244 262
Continuing Claims  -- 1,723 1,696 -1.3 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Jul 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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