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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Ease Back to 275K
by Carol Stone  September 10, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance eased to 275,000 during the week ended September 5 from the previous week's 281,000. This latter figure was revised from 282,000, a small but unusual downward adjustment in a series that is generally revised higher with later reporting. The four-week moving average through September 5 rose marginally to 275,750 from the prior 275,500. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 275,000 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.

In the week ended August 29, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 2.260 million (-9.6% y/y) from the previous week's 2.259 million. That four-week moving average edged up to 2.266 million and has been moving sideways since mid-July. The accompanying insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.7%, near the lowest point since June 2000.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary with South Dakota (0.32%), Nebraska (0.59%), North Dakota (0.63%), Utah (0.68%) and Indiana (0.76%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were California (2.28%), Alaska (also 2.28%), Pennsylvania (2.43%), Connecticut (2.69%) and New Jersey (2.94%). These data are not seasonally adjusted and cover the week ended August 22.

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) 09/05/15 08/29/15 08/22/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 275 281 270 -11.0 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,260 2,259 -9.6 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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