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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Notch Higher
by Tom Moeller  September 1, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims rose to 263,000 (-6.4% y/y) during the week ended August 27 following an unrevised slip to 261,000 claims in the prior week. The four-week moving average eased to 263,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 264,000 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 rose to 2.159 million (-4.4% y/y) during the week ended August 20, from 2.145 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average increased to 2.160 million, near a four-decade low.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady 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 (0.65%), Indiana (0.71%), Florida (0.74%), Georgia (0.76%), Virginia (0.82%) and Maine (0.88%). At the high end of the scale were New York (1.77%), Nevada (1.77%), Massachusetts (1.99%), Pennsylvania (2.49%), Connecticut (2.71%) and New Jersey (2.75%). 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) 08/27/16 08/20/16 08/13/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 263 261 262 -6.4% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,159 2,145 -4.4 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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