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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Tumble
by Tom Moeller  June 23, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims declined to 259,000 (-5.3% y/y) during the week ended June 18 versus an unrevised 277,000 claims in the prior week. The decline was to the lowest level since the end of April. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 270,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims eased to 267,000.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey period for June nonfarm payrolls, and they fell 19,000 (-6.8%) from the May period. 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 June 11, continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined to 2.142 million (-5.1% y/y) from 2.162 million. Claims were near the lowest level since 2000. The four-week moving average fell to 2.147 million.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.6%, and remained near the record low.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were Nebraska (0.53%), Florida (0.62%), Tennessee (0.78%), Virginia (0.82%), Georgia (0.83%) and South Carolina (0.85%). At the high end of the scale were Rhode Island (1.71%), Massachusetts (1.83%), Illinois (1.93%), Pennsylvania (2.22%), New Jersey (2.29%) and Alaska (3.24%). 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) 06/18/16 06/11/16 06/04/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 259 277 264 -5.3% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,142 2,162 -5.1 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6

(June 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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