Recent Updates

  • US: New Residential Sales, Final Building Permits (Aug)
  • Belgium: Business Surveys (Sep)
  • Armenia: Monetary Aggregates, Analytical Accounts of the CBA (Aug)
  • Mexico: Service Sector (Jul)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Fell Slightly
by Sandy Batten  March 5, 2020

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 3,000 to 216,000 (-0.9% y/y) in the week ended February 29 from an unrevised 219,000 in the prior week. The February 29 result was slightly lower than the Action Economics Forecast Survey at 220,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims was 213,000, up from 209,750 the previous week.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended February 22 rose to 1.729 million (-1.1% y/y) from a downwardly revised 1.722 million (initially 1.724 million) the previous week. The four-week moving average of claimants fell 7,500 to 1.721 million.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.2% in the week ended February 22, where it has been since mid-November. Except for a few weeks last fall when the rate dipped to 1.1%, it has been 1.2% since May 2018. The 1.1% rate was the lowest in the history of the series dating back to 1971.

Insured unemployment rates vary widely by state. The state data are not seasonally adjusted. During the week ended February 15, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.39%), North Carolina (0.49%), and Nebraska, New Hampshire and Virginia (0.60%). The highest rates were in Montana (2.49%), Connecticut (2.52%), West Virginia (2.59%), New Jersey (2.72%) and Alaska (2.88%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate was 1.04% in Texas, 1.74% in New York, 2.02% in California and 2.22% in Illinois.

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) 02/29/20 02/22/20 02/15/20 Y/Y % 2019 2018 2017
Initial Claims 216 219 211 -0.9 218 220 244
Continuing Claims -- 1,729 1,722 -1.1 1,701 1,756 1,961
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Feb. 2019)

1.2 1.2 1.4
large image