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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Unemployment Insurance Touch 1973 Low
by Tom Moeller  October 15, 2015

The job market continues to strengthen. Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 255,000 (-6.8% y/y) during the week ended October 10 from a little-revised 262,000 during the prior week. The figure matched the lowest point since November 1973. The four week moving average of claims eased to 265,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 265,000 initial claims in the latest week. During the last ten years, there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

In the week ended October 3, continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased w/w to 2.158 million (-10.3% y/y) and remained near the November 2000 low. The four-week moving average fell to 2.201 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.6%, equaling the lowest point since June 2000.

By state, the insured rate of unemployment continued to vary with South Dakota (0.23%), Nebraska (0.52%), New Hampshire (0.66%), Virginia (0.72%), Maine (0.78%) and South Carolina (0.82%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were Massachusetts (1.71%), Connecticut (2.00%), Pennsylvania (2.06%), California (2.12%), New Jersey (2.32%) and Alaska (2.53%). 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) 10/10/15 10/03/15 09/26/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 255 262 276 -6.8 309 343 374
Continuing Claims -- 2,158 2,208 -10.3 2,599 2,978 3,319
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6 1.8
2.0 2.3 2.6
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