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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Rise During Easter Week
by Tom Moeller  April 24, 2014

Difficulties adjusting for the timing of the Easter holiday may be behind last week's rise in initial unemployment insurance claims to 329,000 (-4.1% y/y). The increase was from a little-revised 305,000 in the week ended April 12. Expectations had been for 313,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 316,750. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended April 12 declined to 2.680 million (-11.0% y/y), the lowest level since December 2007. The four-week moving average fell to 2.752 million. The insured rate of unemployment fell further to 2.0%, also the lowest level since December 2007. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of April 5, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients fell sharply to 2.922 million (-42.4% 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.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Louisiana (1.03%), Oklahoma (1.11%), Virginia (1.12%), Tennessee (1.20%), Texas (1.39%), Missouri (1.58%) and Ohio (1.82%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Maine (2.81%), Michigan (2.82%), Massachusetts (3.00%), California (3.12%), Illinois (3.26%), Connecticut (3.28%) and New Jersey (3.56%). 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 expectations figure is from the Action Economics survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 04/19/14 04/12/14 04/05/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 329 305 301 -4.1 343 374 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,680 2,741 -11.0 2,980 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.0 2.1 2.3
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 2.922 mil. -42.4 4.659 mil. 6.047 mil. 7.750 mil.
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