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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline Further
by Tom Moeller  February 6, 2020

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 15,000 to 202,000 (-11.8% y/y) during the week ended February 1 from 217,000 in the prior week, revised from 216,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected  215,000 initial claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 211,750, the lowest level since mid-April 2019.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 25 increased to 1.751 million (2.1% y/y) from an unrevised 1.703 million. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.742 million, its lowest level in four weeks.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.2%, where it has been since mid-November.

Insured unemployment rates vary widely by state. During the week ending January 18, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.39%), North Carolina (0.51%), Nebraska (0.53%), Virginia (0.58%) and Tennessee (0.64%). The highest rates were in West Virginia (2.50%), Connecticut (2.52%), Montana (2.60%), New Jersey (2.67%) and Alaska (3.09%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate was 1.08% in Texas, 1.75% in New York and 1.95% 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) 02/01/20 01/25/20 01/18/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Initial Claims 202 217 223 -11.8 218 220 244
Continuing Claims -- 1,751 1,703 2.1 1,700 1,756 1,961
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

1.2
(Feb. 2019)

1.2 1.2 1.4
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