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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims of Unemployment Insurance Remain Low
by Tom Moeller  February 5, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 278,000 during the week ended January 31 from 267,000 in the prior week, revised from 265,000. Claims were at the lowest level since the end of October. The four-week moving average of initial claims declined to 292,750. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 285,000 claims in the latest week. 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 24 notched up to 2.400 from 2.394 during the prior week, revised from 2.385 mil. The four-week moving average declined to 2.421 mil.

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

By state, in the week ended January 17 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Virginia (1.09%), North Carolina (1.10%), Oklahoma (1.13%), Louisiana (1.16%), South Carolina (1.17%) and Texas (1.26%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Vermont (2.49%), California (2.55%), Michigan (2.75%), Montana (3.28%), Pennsylvania (3.39%) and New Jersey (3.64%). 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) 01/31/15 01/24/15 01/17/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 278 267 309 -15.2 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,400 2,394 -17.7 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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