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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall Again
by Tom Moeller  May 26, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 268,000 (-4.6% y/y) during the week ended May 21 from an unrevised fall to 278,000 during the prior week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 275,000 claims. The four week moving average of claims rose to 278,500, the highest point since late January. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

In the week ending May 14, continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 2.163 million (-3.1% y/y) from 2.153 million. The four-week moving average rose to 2.151 million, but remained near the lowest level since November 2000.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.6%, also the lowest level since 2000.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were South Dakota (0.34%), Florida (0.58%), North Carolina (0.62%), South Carolina (0.74%), Tennessee (0.77%) and Virginia (0.80%). At the high end of the scale were Rhode Island (1.88%), Illinois (1.96%), Massachusetts (1.98%), Connecticut (2.16%), Pennsylvania (2.23%) and New Jersey (2.41%). 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) 05/21/16 05/14/16 05/07/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 268 278 294 -4.6% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,163 2,153 -3.1 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6

(May 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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