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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Increase
by Tom Moeller  December 10, 2015

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 282,000 (-1.2% y/y) in the week ending December 5 from an unrevised 269,000 the previous week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 265,000 filings. The four-week moving average rose slightly to 270,750 but remained near the 15-year low. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

In the week ending November 28, continuing claims for unemployment insurance edged up to 2.243 million, but were 8.7% lower than a year earlier. The four-week moving average increased to 2.183 million and remained near the 15-year low.

The insured rate of unemployment notched higher to 1.7% but remained near the cycle low.

The insured rate of unemployment across states continued to vary. The lowest were South Dakota (0.4%), Nebraska (0.6%), Florida (0.6%), Indiana (0.7%), Virginia (0.7%) and Tennessee (0.8%). At the other end of the spectrum were California (1.7%), Illinois (1.8%), Massachusetts (1.9%), Connecticut (2.0%), Pennsylvania (2.2%) and New Jersey (2.4%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted and reported with a two-week lag versus the headline figure.

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) 12/05/15 11/28/15 11/21/15 Y/Y % 2014 2013 2012
Initial Claims 282 269 260 -1.2 307 342 372
Continuing Claims -- 2,243 2,161 -8.7 2,607 2,978 3,308
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.6

(Nov. 2014)

2.0 2.3 2.6
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