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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Retrace Earlier Gains
by Tom Moeller  March 12, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 289,000 during the week ended March 7 from 325,000 in the prior week, revised from 320,000. The latest level was the lowest in three weeks. The four-week moving average of initial claims fell to 302,250. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 303,000 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 fell to 2.418 million after the prior week's modest rise to 2.423 million. The four-week moving average rose to 2.417 million, the highest level in five weeks.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.8% for the ninth straight week.

By state, in the week ended February 21 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.92%), South Carolina (1.03%), Georgia (1.11%), Louisiana (1.13%), Tennessee (1.15%) and Mississippi (1.24%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Michigan (2.57%), Maine (2.67%), California (2.95%), Massachusetts (3.45%), Connecticut (3.54%) and New Jersey (3.77%). 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) 03/07/15 02/28/15 02/21/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 289 325 313 -9.4 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,418 2,423 -15.2 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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