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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Drop Below 300K
by Carol Stone  May 15, 2014

Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to 297,000 (-16.3% y/y) in the week ended May 10 from 321,000 in the week ended May 3, revised from 319,000. Expectations had been for 320,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims edged down to 323,250. The latest figure is the lowest since January 2007.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended May 3 decreased to 2.667 million (-11.6% y/y). The four-week moving average fell to 2.694 million, the lowest level since November 2007. The insured rate of unemployment remained at 2.0%, its cycle low. 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 26, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients fell 128,000 to 2.705 million (-44.2% y/y), also the cycle low. 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. Year-on-year comparisons are impacted by the expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program at the end of 2013.

By state in the April 26 week, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.5%), North Dakota (0.6%), Nebraska (0.8%), South Carolina (1.0%) and Louisiana (1.0%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Rhode Island (3.0%), Connecticut (3.0%), California (3.1%), Puerto Rico (3.2%), New Jersey (3.3%) and Alaska (4.6%). 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) 05/10/14 05/03/14 04/26/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 297 321 345 -16.3 343 375 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,667 2,676 -11.6 2,977 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.0 2.0 2.3
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 2,705 -44.2 4.651 mil. 6.049 mil. 7.725 mil.
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