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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Remain At 2000 Low
by Tom Moeller  May 14, 2015

The job market remains firm. In the week ended May 9, initial claims for jobless insurance slipped to 264,000 from an unrevised 265,000, the lowest levels in fifteen years. The four week moving average declined to 271,750. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 270,000 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.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.7% in the week ended May 2 for the seventh straight week, its lowest level since November 2000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance were unchanged at 2.229 million (-16.6% y/y) in the latest week. The four-week moving average fell to 2.260 million, the lowest level since December 2000.

By state, in the week ended April 25 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with South Dakota (0.40%), Indiana (0.85%), Tennessee (0.92%), New Hampshire (0.95%), Alabama (1.23%) and Ohio (1.25%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (1.91%), Oregon (1.93%), Pennsylvania (2.30%), Massachusetts (2.33%), California (2.54%) and New Jersey (2.66%). 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) 05/09/15 05/02/15 04/25/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 264 265 262 -10.8 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,229 2,229 -16.5 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.7 2.0
2.0 2.3 2.6
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