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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Rise Again
by Tom Moeller  March 31, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 276,000 during the week ended March 26 from an unrevised 265,000 in the prior week. It was the highest level in eight weeks. Expectations were for 266,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four week moving average of claims increased to 263,250. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

In the week ending March 19, continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased to 2.173 million from 2.180 million. The four-week moving average fell to 2.191 million, the lowest level since November.

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 (0.62%), North Carolina (0.69%), South Carolina (0.84%), Virginia (0.93%), Tennessee (0.95%), and Arizona (1.02%). At the high end of the scale were Illinois (2.67%), Massachusetts (2.69%), Rhode Island (2.75%), Connecticut (2.86%), Pennsylvania (3.00%) and New Jersey (3.09%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted.

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) 03/26/15 03/19/16 03/12/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 276 265 259 -1.6% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,173 2,180 -6.0 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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