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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Rise Modestly
by Tom Moeller  March 17, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims increased to an expected 265,000 during the week ended March 12 from 258,000 in the prior week, revised from 259,000. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four week moving average of claims fell to 268,000, the lowest point since October.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey period for March nonfarm payrolls, and there was a 3,000 increase (1.1%) from the February 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 March 5, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose slightly to 2.235 million (-6.8% y/y) from 2.227 million. The four-week moving average fell to 2.243 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.6%, the low point of the economic recovery.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were Florida (0.63%), North Carolina (0.74%), Georgia (0.85%), Virginia (0.99%), Arizona (1.03%) and Tennessee (1.05%). At the high end of the scale were Illinois (2.77%), Massachusetts (2.86%), Connecticut (3.03%), Pennsylvania (3.24%), New Jersey (3.29%) and Alaska (4.52%). 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) 03/12/16 03/05/16 02/27/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 265 258 277 -8.8% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,235 2,227 -6.8 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6

(Mar. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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