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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Edge Lower
by Sandy Batten  September 8, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims edged down to 259,000 (-5.8% y/y) in the week ending September 3 from an unrevised 263,000 in the week ended August 27. The four-week moving average also eased to 261,250 from 263,000 (also unrevised) previously. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 262,000 claims in the latest week. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for jobless benefits fell to 2.144 million (-5.2% y/y) in the week ended August 27 from a downwardly revised 2.151 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average fell to 2.154 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 across states continue to be quite disparate. The state data are not seasonally adjusted and are reported with a two-week lag. For the week ended August 20, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.33%), Nebraska (0.42%), North Carolina (0.64%), and Utah (0.64%). The highest rates were found in New Jersey (2.74%), Connecticut (2.71%), and Alaska (2.64%).

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) 09/3/2016 08/27/16 08/20/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 259 263 261 -5.8 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,144 2,151 -5.2 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.6 1.6

(Sep. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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