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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise in Line with Expectations
by Gerald D. Cohen  July 18, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 8,000 to 216,000 (1.9% year-on-year) during the week ending July 13 from a slightly downwardly-revised reading of 208,000 in the previous week (was 209,000). The previous week included the July 4th holiday when seasonal adjustment and reporting challenges make this data more difficult to interpret. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims edged down to 218,750 from 219,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance decreased 42,000 to 1.686 million (-3.8% y/y) in the week ending July 6, from a slightly upwardly-revised 1.728 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claimants rose to 1.701 million from 1.696 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 29, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.23%), Indiana (0.43%), Nebraska (0.44%), Florida (0.44%), and North Carolina (0.46%). The highest rates were in California (1.80%), Rhode Island (1.84%), Pennsylvania (1.90%), Connecticut (2.16%) and New Jersey (2.18%), and. Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above the rate was 1.03% in Texas and 1.33% 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) 07/13/19 07/06/19 06/29/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 216 208 222 1.9 220 244 262
Continuing Claims  -- 1,686 1,728 -3.8 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

1.2
(Jul 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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