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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall to Late-November Low
by Tom Moeller  February 18, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims declined to 262,000 during the week ended February 13 from an unrevised 269,000 in the prior week. It was lowest level of initial filings since November 21, 2015. The four-week moving average declined to 273,250, a two month low. Consensus expectations were for 275,000 applications in the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

The latest figure covers the survey week for February nonfarm payrolls, falling 32,000 (-10.9%) from the January period. 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 February 6, continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 2.273 million (-5.3% y/y) from 2.243 million. The four-week moving average eased to 2.263 million, the highest level since late-August.

The insured rate of unemployment eased to 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%), Georgia (0.95%), Virginia (0.99%), Arizona (1.06%) and Tennessee (1.13%). At the high end of the scale were Massachusetts (2.80%), Illinois (2.87%), Connecticut (3.01%), Pennsylvania (3.32%), West Virginia (3.68%) and New Jersey (3.39%). 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.

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 02/13/16 02/06/16 01/30/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 262 269 285 -7.1 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,273 2,243 -5.3 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.6

(Feb. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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