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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Jump to Nine-Month High
by Tom Moeller  March 5, 2015

Initial unemployment insurance claims moved up 320,000 during the week ended February 28 from an unrevised 313,000 in the prior week. It was the highest level of claims since the middle of May 2014. The four-week moving average of initial claims moved up to 304,750, the highest level in six weeks. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 295,000 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 February 28 increased to 2.421 million and reversed the prior week's fall. The four-week moving average ticked up to 2.404 million.

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

By state, in the week ended February 14 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.92%), South Carolina (1.03%), Georgia (1.07%), Louisiana (1.12%), Nebraska (1.13% and Tennessee (1.15%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (2.57%), Maine (2.64%), California (2.74%), Massachusetts (3.14%), Pennsylvania (3.33%) and Connecticut (3.44%). 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) 02/28/15 02/21/15 02/14/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 320 313 282 -1.5 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,421 2,404 -16.2 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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