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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Remain Below 300,000
by Tom Moeller  June 25, 2015

A firmer labor market was behind today's report of strong personal spending and income. Initial unemployment insurance claims remained near the cycle low in the latest week. A small rise to 271,000 during the week of June 20 left the four week moving average down for a second period to 273,750, up just slightly from the dead low in May. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 272,000 initial 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 ticked up to 2.247 million (-12.8% y/y) in the latest week from 2.225 million. The four-week moving average of 2.237 million was near the lowest level since November 2000.

The insured rate of unemployment held for a second week at 1.7%, just above the cycle low.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary greatly with New Hampshire (0.76%), Florida (0.80%), Virginia (0.82%), Georgia (1.02%), Tennessee (1.03%) and Ohio (1.16%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (1.94%), Pennsylvania (1.94%), California (2.24%), Connecticut (2.25%), New Jersey (2.40%) and Alaska (2.96%). 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) 06/20/15 06/13/15 06/06/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 271 268 279 -13.4 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,247 2,225 -12.8 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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