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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Remain Little-Changed
by Tom Moeller  March 19, 2015

Initial jobless insurance claims of 291,000 in the week ended March 14 compared to 290,000 in the prior week, revised from 289,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims notched higher to 304,750. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 290,000 claims in the latest week.

The latest claims figure covers the survey period for March nonfarm payrolls. Claims rose 21,750 (7.7%) from the February 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 March 7 declined to 2.417 million and reversed the prior week's modest rise to 2.428 million. The four-week moving average was little-changed at 2.418 million.

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

By state, in the week ended February 28 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Florida (0.87%), North Carolina (1.03%), Georgia (1.09%), Nebraska (1.11%), Louisiana (1.13%) and Mississippi (1.21%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Maine (2.60%), Michigan (2.63%), California (2.89%), Massachusetts (3.13%), New Jersey (3.66%) and Alaska (4.28%). 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) 03/14/15 03/07/15 02/28/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 291 290 325 -9.9 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,417 2,428 -15.8 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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