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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Up Slightly
by Carol Stone, CBE  February 13, 2020

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose 2,000 to 205,000 (-11.3% y/y) during the week ended February 8 from 203,000 in the prior week, revised from 202,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 210,000 initial claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims was steady at 212,000, the lowest since late July 2019.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended February 1 dropped to 1.698 million (-2.7% y/y) from 1.759 million, which was revised from 1.751 million. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.727 million, its lowest level in six 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 25, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.42%), North Carolina (0.51%), Virginia (0.60%), Nebraska (0.61%) and New Hampshire (0.62%). The highest rates were in Connecticut (2.52%), West Virginia (2.52%), Montana (2.54%), New Jersey (2.74%) and Alaska (3.12%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate was 1.15% in Texas, 1.77% in New York, 2.25% in California and 2.42% in Illinois. 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) 02/08/20 02/01/20 01/25/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Initial Claims 205 203 217 -11.3 218 220 244
Continuing Claims -- 1,698 1,759 -2.7 1,701 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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