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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Ease
by Tom Moeller  June 2, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 267,000, up 6.5% y/y, during the week ended May 28 versus an unrevised decline to 268,000 in the prior week. It was the third consecutive weekly shortfall, but it left the average so far in May above April. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 270,000 claims. The four week moving average of claims eased to 277,000, still near the highest point since early February. 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 21, continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 2.172 million (-2.1% y/y) from 2.160 million. The four-week moving average rose to 2.163 million, the highest level since early April.

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

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were South Dakota (0.32%), Florida (0.60%), North Carolina (0.64%), Tennessee (0.66%), South Carolina (0.76%) and Virginia (0.81%). At the high end of the scale were Rhode Island (1.78%), Massachusetts (1.92%), Illinois (1.93%), Connecticut (2.14%), Pennsylvania (2.31%) and New Jersey (2.39%). 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) 05/28/16 05/21/16 05/14/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 267 268 278 6.5% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,172 2,160 -2.1 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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