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Economy in Brief


U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Continue Lower
by Tom Moeller  January 16, 2014

Initial claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 326,000 during the week ended January 11 from 328,000 in the prior week, revised from 330,000. It was the lowest level since late-November. Expectations had been for 328,000 claims in the Action Economics survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 335,000. During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 4 nudged up to 2.865 million (-10.0% y/y). The four-week moving average rose slightly to 2.909 million. The insured rate of unemployment ticked up 2.3%. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of December 28, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients rose to 4.703 million (-19.9% y/y). This broader measure is not seasonally adjusted. It compares to a cycle peak of 12.060 million in January 2010 and pre-recession figures that averaged 2.596 million in 2007. The number of individuals collecting emergency and extended payments declined to 1.351 million (-34.4% y/y).

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.94%), Florida (1.23%), Virginia (1.37%), Texas (1.59%), Indiana (1.92%), Ohio (2.21%) and Alabama (2.27%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (3.05%), New York (3.13%), California (3.19%), Illinois (3.23%), Pennsylvania (3.62%), Connecticut (3.79%) and New Jersey (4.04%). These data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment insurance are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database and they are summarized monthly in USECON. Data for individual states are in REGIONW. The consensus estimates come from the Action Economics survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 01/11/14 01/04/14 12/28/13 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 326 328 345 -6.9 343 374 409
Continuing Claims -- 3,030 2,856 -6.7 2.980 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.3 2.2 2.5
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- 4.703 mil. -19.9 4.659 mil. 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil.
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