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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Decline Further
by Tom Moeller  April 2, 2015

Initial unemployment insurance claims in the week ended March 28 declined to 268,000 (-18.5% y/y) from 288,000 during the prior week, revised from 282,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims fell to 285,500, the lowest level in six weeks. 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 initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in the week ended March 21 declined to 2.325 million (-17.2% y/y), the lowest level since January 2007. The four-week moving average fell to 2.388 million but has trended sideways since January.

The insured rate of unemployment fell to 1.7%, its lowest level since November 2000.

By state, in the week ended March 14, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Florida (0.86%), North Carolina (0.96%), Georgia (0.98%), Louisiana (1.13%), Arizona (1.14%) and New Hampshire (1.24%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Nevada (2.40%), Maine (2.47%), Michigan (2.49%), California (2.98%), Massachusetts (3.03%) and New Jersey (3.52%). 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) 03/28/15 03/21/15 03/14/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 268 288 293 -18.5 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,325 2,413 -17.2 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.8 2.2
2.0 2.3 2.6
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