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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise to 214K
by Winnie Tapasanun  October 17, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending October 12 rose 4,000 to 214,000 (-0.5% y/y) from an unrevised 210,000 in the previous week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, rose to 214,750, the highest level since August 31, from 213,750.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 10,000 to 1.679 million (1.1% y/y) in the week ending October 5 from 1.689 million in the prior week, upwardly revised from 1.684 million. The four-week moving average of claimants rose to 1.670 million, the highest level since September 7, from 1.666 million.

The insured rate of unemployment for the week ending October 5 held at 1.2% for the second week after holding at the record low 1.1% for two weeks. Data on the insured unemployment rate go back to 1971.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending September 28, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.19%), Nebraska (0.24%), North Dakota (0.31%), Utah (0.40%), and New Hampshire (0.41%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.44%), Connecticut (1.53%), California (1.61%), Alaska (1.70%), and New Jersey (1.79%). Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above, the rate was 0.94% in Texas, 0.44% in Florida, and 1.11% 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) 10/12/19 10/05/19 09/28/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 214 210 220 -0.5 220 244 262
Continuing Claims  -- 1,679 1,689 1.1 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Oct 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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