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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Decline
by Tom Moeller  August 25, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance eased to 261,000 (-4.0% y/y) during the week ended August 20 following an unrevised decline to 262,000 claims in the prior week. It was the lowest level of claims in five weeks, and near the lowest level since 1973. The four-week moving average slipped to 264,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 265,000 claims in the latest week. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for jobless benefits declined to 2.145 million (-5.0% y/y) during the week ended August 13, from 2.175 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average was little changed at 2.155 million, also near a four-decade low.

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

Insured rates of unemployment continued to vary across states. Near the low end of the range were North Carolina (0.66%), Florida (0.72%), Indiana (0.74%), Georgia (0.79%), Virginia (0.81%) and Maine (0.88%). At the high end of the scale were New York (1.78%), Nevada (1.80%), Massachusetts (2.01%), Pennsylvania (2.40%), Connecticut (2.68%) and New Jersey (2.72%). 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) 08/20/16 08/13/16 08/06/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 261 262 266 -4.0% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,145 2,175 -5.0 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6

(Aug. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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