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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Ease and Continuing Claims Fall Back
by Carol Stone, CBE  January 16, 2020

Initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 10,000 to 204,000 (-6.0% y/y) in the week ended January 11 from 214,000 in the prior week, which was unrevised. It was the fifth straight weekly decline. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000 initial claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 216,250 from 224,000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 4 declined 37,000 to 1.767 million (+3.0% y/y) from the prior week's 1.804 million, which was revised modestly from 1.803 million. The four-week moving average of claimants rose to 1.756 million, the highest level since mid-March.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.2%, where it has been almost continuously since May 2018.

Insured unemployment rates continued to vary widely by state. During the week ending December 28, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.42%), North Carolina (0.48%), Nebraska (0.54%), Virginia (0.60%) and Arizona (0.63%). The highest rates were in Montana (2.44%), Rhode Island (2.57%), New Jersey (2.78%), Connecticut (2.81%) and Alaska (3.32%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate was 1.16% in Texas, 1.94% in New York and 2.09% in California. These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment claims dating 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) 01/11/20 01/04/20 12/28/19 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Initial Claims 204 214 223 -6.0 218 220 244
Continuing Claims -- 1,767 1,804 3.0 1,700 1,756 1,961
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

1.2
(Jan 2019)

1.2 1.2 1.4
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