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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Declines to 2000 Low
by Tom Moeller  October 23, 2014

The job market remains on a firm footing. Initial claims for unemployment insurance during the week ended October 18 rose to 283,000 (-18.4% y/y) from 266,000, revised from 264,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 280,000 claims in the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 281,000. It was the lowest level since May 2000.

The latest claims figure covers the survey period for October nonfarm payrolls. There was a 2,000 increase (0.7%) in claims from the September period. During the last ten years, there has been a 73% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended October 11 declined 38,000 (-18.4% y/y) to 2.351 million. The four-week moving average fell to 2.381 million, the lowest level since May 2006. The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.8% for the sixth straight week, the lowest level since May 2007.

By state, in the week ended October 4, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Wyoming (0.80%), Indiana (0.83%), New Hampshire (0.86%), Virginia (0.89%), Ohio (1.03%) and Texas (1.13%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.06%), Pennsylvania (2.08%), Nevada (2.24%), California (2.33%), New Jersey (2.70%) and Alaska (2.80%). 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) 10/18/14 10/11/14 10/04/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 283 266 287 -18.4 343 375 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,351 2,389 -18.4 2,977 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.8 1.8 2.2
2.3 2.6 3.0
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