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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Move Higher
by Tom Moeller  January 14, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 284,000 (-4.9% y/y) in the week ended January 9 from an unrevised 277,000 in the previous week. Consensus expectations were for 272,000 applications in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average rose to 278,750, the highest level since early July. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

In the week ending January 2, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 2.263 million (-6.3% y/y) from the previous week's 2.234 million. The four-week moving average rose to 2.224 million, the highest level since late-September.

The insured rate of unemployment nudged high to 1.7% following three weeks at 1.6%.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were Florida (0.70%), North Carolina (0.76%), Nebraska (0.89%), Virginia (0.95%), Tennessee (1.04%) and Indiana (1.05%). At the high end of the scale were Massachusetts (2.53%), Illinois (2.61%), Connecticut (2.66%), Pennsylvania (2.82%), New Jersey (2.95%), and Montana (3.18%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted and cover the week ended December 26.

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.

Estimating the Monetary Policy Rule Perceived by Forecasters from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 01/09/16 01/02/16 12/26/15 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 284 277 287 -4.9 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,263 2,234 -6.3 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.6

(Jan. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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