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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline to Seven-Week Low
by Tom Moeller  February 11, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims retreated to 269,000 during the week ended February 6 from an unrevised 285,000 in the prior week. The four-week moving average declined to 281,250, yet has been working higher since October. Consensus expectations were for 279,000 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 30, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 2.239 million (-4.6% y/y). The four-week moving average eased to 2.248 million, but remained near the highest level since early-September.

The insured rate of unemployment eased to 1.6%, 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 (0.82%), Virginia (0.95%), Georgia (0.99%), Arizona (1.09%) and Tennessee (1.10%). At the high end of the scale were Massachusetts (2.86%), Illinois (2.90%), Connecticut (3.07%), Pennsylvania (3.10%), New Jersey (3.30%) and West Virginia (3.63%). 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.

Will the Economic Recovery Die of Old Age? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 02/06/16 01/30/16 01/23/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 269 285 277 -10.3 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,239 2,260 -4.6 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.7

(Jan. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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