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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Increase to 218K
by Winnie Tapasanun  October 31, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance in the week ending October 26 rose 5,000 to 218,000 (-0.5% y/y) from an upwardly revised 213,000 in the previous week (originally 212,000). The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, declined to 214,750, the three-week low, from 215,250; thus, showing no visible disruptions from the tentatively settled GM strike.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 7,000 to 1.690 million (2.5% y/y) in the week ending October 19 from 1.683 million in the prior week, upwardly revised from 1.682 million. The 1.690 million level was the highest since August 17. The four-week moving average of claimants rose to 1.686 million, the highest level since August 24, from 1.678 million.

The insured rate of unemployment for the week ending October 19 held at 1.2% for the fourth straight 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 October 12, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.19%), Nebraska (0.22%), North Dakota (0.32%), Utah (0.40%), and New Hampshire (0.41%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.43%), California (1.50%), Connecticut (1.53%), New Jersey (1.78%), and Alaska (1.84%). Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above, the rate was 0.93% in Texas, 0.43% in Florida, and 1.13% 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) 10/26/19 10/19/19 10/12/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 218 213 218 -0.5 220 244 262
Continuing Claims  -- 1,690 1,683 2.5 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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