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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Slip
by Tom Moeller  June 26, 2014

Initial unemployment insurance claims declined to 312,000 during the week ended June 21 from 314,000 in the prior week, revised from 312,000. The latest claims level matched expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey and remained slightly higher than the 298,000 low in early-May. The four-week moving average of initial claims ticked up to 314,250, still near the cycle low.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended June 14 notched up to 2.571 million (-13.6% y/y). The four-week moving average fell to 2.587 million, a seven year low. The insured rate of unemployment notched up to 2.0%. This particular count covers only "regular" programs and does not include all extended benefit and other specialized jobless insurance programs. In the week of June 7, the latest available, the total of all benefit recipients declined to 2.441 million (-46.4% y/y), a new 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 June 6th week, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.38%), Virginia (1.04%, South Carolina (1.05%), Louisiana (1.16%), Tennessee (1.25%) and Texas (1.38%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Illinois (2.28%), Pennsylvania (2.63%), Connecticut (2.74%), California (2.77%), New Jersey (2.81%) and Alaska (3.73%). 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) 06/21/14 06/14/14 06/07/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 312 314 318 -9.6 343 375 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,571 2,559 -13.6 2,977 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 2.0 1.9 2.3
2.3 2.6 3.0
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 2.441 mil. -46.4 4.651 mil. 6.049 mil. 7.725 mil.
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