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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Rebound to Eight-Week High
by Tom Moeller  September 3, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rebounded to 282,000 during the week ended August 29 from 270,000 in the prior week, revised from 271,000. It was the highest level of claims since the first week of July. The four-week moving average rose to 275,500, the highest level since the middle of last month. 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.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.7%, near the lowest point since June 2000.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance edged down to 2.257 million (-9.2% y/y) from 2.266 million. The four-week moving average held at 2.264 million and has been moving sideways for two months.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary with South Dakota (0.33%), Nebraska (0.70%), Virginia (0.84%), Florida (0.92%), Georgia (0.95%) and Tennessee (1.01%) near the low end of the range. At the high end were West Virginia (2.01%), Massachusetts (2.09%), California (2.33%), Pennsylvania (2.60%), Connecticut (2.70%) and New Jersey (2.98%). 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) 08/29/15 08/22/15 08/15/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 282 270 277 -7.7 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,257 2,266 -9.2 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.7 1.9
2.0 2.3 2.6
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