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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Decline Along With Jobless Rate
by Tom Moeller  June 19, 2014

Initial jobless insurance claims declined to 312,000 during the week ended June 14 from 318,000 during the prior week, revised from 317,000. A 314,000 level of claims was expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Claims remained slightly higher than the 298,000 low in early-May. The four-week moving average of initial claims fell to 311,750, nearly the cycle low.

The latest claims figure covers the survey period for June nonfarm payrolls and they fell 15,000 (4.6%) from the May period. During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

The insured rate of unemployment fell to 1.9%, its lowest level since October 2007. Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended June 7 fell to 2.561 million (-13.9% y/y). The four-week moving average fell to 2.600 million, a seven year 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 May 31, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients ticked up to 2.479 million (-45.3% 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. Year-on-year comparisons are impacted by the expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program at the end of 2013.

By state in the May 31st week, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Carolina (1.02%), Virginia (1.03%), Louisiana (1.12%), Tennessee (1.20%), Texas (1.40%) and Maine (1.69%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Arkansas (2.05%), Illinois (2.42%), California (2.83%), Pennsylvania (2.70%), Connecticut (2.77%) and New Jersey (2.90%). 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) 06/14/14 06/07/14 05/31/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 312 318 313 -15.4 343 375 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,561 2,615 -13.9 2,977 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.9 2.0 2.3
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 2.479 million -45.3 4.651 mil. 6.049 mil. 7.725 mil.
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