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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Notch Higher
by Tom Moeller  May 21, 2015

Initial claims for jobless insurance increased to 274,000 during the week ended March 16 from an unrevised 264,000 in the prior week. The four week moving average eased to 266,250, a fifteen year low. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 271,000 claims in the latest week.

The latest claims figure covers the survey week for May nonfarm payrolls and claims fell 22,000 (-7.4%) from the April period. 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 slipped to 1.6% in the week ended May 9, its lowest level since June 2000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 2.211 million (-16.7% y/y) in the latest week. The four-week moving average fell to 2.230 million, the lowest level since December 2000.

By state, in the week ended May 2 the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with Nebraska (0.61%), Indiana (0.83%), Tennessee (0.90%), New Hampshire (1.00%), Mississippi (1.11%) and Alabama (1.25%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were New York (1.82%), Massachusetts (2.08%), Pennsylvania (2.27%), California (2.56%), New Jersey (2.67%) and Alaska (3.47%). 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.

Sin Taxes: The Sobering Fiscal Realty from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 05/16/15 05/09/15 05/02/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 274 264 265 -15.5 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,211 2,223 -16.7 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.7 2.0
2.0 2.3 2.6
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