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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Edge Down
by Tom Moeller  December 18, 2014

Initial claims for unemployment insurance during the week ended December 13 fell to 289,000 (-21.5% y/y) after falling to a little-revised 295,000 in the prior week. It was the lowest level of claims in six weeks. The four-week moving average of initial claims notched lower w/w to 298,750 but was up from 279,000 at the end of October. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 293,000 claims in the latest week.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey period for December nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 3,000 (1.0%) from the November period. During the last ten years, there has been a 76% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended December 6 fell to 2.373 million (-17.8% y/y) from 2.520 million. The four-week moving average edged up to 2.397 million, the highest level since early-October.

The insured rate of unemployment slipped back to 1.8% where it had been since early-September.

By state, in the week ended November 29, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.70%), Tennessee (1.05%), Indiana (1.06%), Florida (1.09%), South Carolina (1.12%) and Georgia (1.31%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (2.42%), West Virginia (2.53%), Connecticut (2.71%), California (2.95%), New Jersey (3.18%) and Alaska (4.67%). 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) 12/13/14 12/06/14 11/29/14 Y/Y % 2013 2012 2011
Initial Claims 289 295 297 -21.5 343 375 409
Continuing Claims -- 2,373 2,520 -17.8 2,977 3,319 3,742
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.8 1.9 2.2
2.3 2.6 3.0
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