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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Ease W/W but Trend Higher
by Tom Moeller  January 22, 2015

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell to 307,000 during the week ended January 17 from 317,000 during the prior week, revised from 316,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 306,500, the highest level since early-July. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 300,000 claims in the latest week.

The latest weekly claims figure covers the survey period for January nonfarm payrolls and claims rose 18,000 (6.2%) from the December period. During the last ten years there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended January 10 increased to 2.443 million (-17.2% y/y) from 2.428 million. The four-week moving average nudged higher to 2.427 million.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.8% for the second week.

By state, in the week ended January 2 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with North Carolina (1.12%), Oklahoma (1.18%), Louisiana (1.18%, Virginia (1.19%), Utah (1.22%) and Texas (1.29%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Washington (2.63%), California (2.76%), Wisconsin (3.38%), Pennsylvania (3.71%), Connecticut (3.83%) and New Jersey (3.96%). 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.

Current Account Surplus May Damp the Effects of China's Credit Boom from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 01/17/15 01/10/15 01/03/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 307 317 304 -8.1 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,443 2,428 -17.2 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.8 1.8 2.2
2.0 2.3 2.6
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