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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Move Higher
by Tom Moeller  February 4, 2016

Initial claims for jobless insurance increased to 285,000 during the week ended January 30 from 277,000 in the prior week, revised from 278,000. The four-week moving average increased to 284,750, up slightly versus late last year. Claims nevertheless remained near the lowest level since 1973. Consensus expectations were for 280,000 applications in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. 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 23, continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased to 2.255 million (-5.1% y/y). The four-week moving average increased to 2.253 million, the highest level since early-September.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.7%, about where it's been since last March.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were Florida (0.67%), North Carolina (0.81%), South Dakota (0.90%), Virginia (0.95%), Tennessee (1.06%) and Indiana (1.23%). At the high end of the scale were Massachusetts (2.79%), Illinois (2.88%), Connecticut (2.96%), New Jersey (3.19%), Pennsylvania (3.29%) and West Virginia (3.31%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted and cover the week ended January 16.

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) 01/30/16 01/23/16 01/16/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 285 277 294 1.8 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,255 2,273 -5.1 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.7

(Jan. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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