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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Edge Higher
by Tom Moeller  October 3, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 219,000 (0.1% y/y) during the week ended September 28 from 215,000 in the previous week, revised from 213,000. It was the highest level of claims in four weeks. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims held steady at 212,500. During the last twenty years, there has been a 68% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased to 1.651 million (-1.1% y/y) in the week ending September 21 from 1.656 million in the prior week, revised from 1.650 million. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1.662 million from 1.667 million.

The insured rate of unemployment for the week ending September 21 held steady at 1.1%, after slipping from 1.2% in the week ended 09/07/19. It remained at the record low. Data on the insured unemployment rate go back to 1971.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending September 14, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.20%), Nebraska (0.27%), North Dakota (0.37%), Utah (0.41%) and Indiana (0.42%). The highest rates were in Alaska (1.54%), Pennsylvania (1.48%), Connecticut (1.58%), California (1.63%), and New Jersey (1.84%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate was 0.95% in Texas, 0.46% in Florida, and 1.22% 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) 09/28/19 09/21/19 09/14/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 219 215 210 0.1 220 244 262
Continuing Claims  -- 1,651 1,656 -1.1 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.1 1.1

1.2
(Sep 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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