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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Are Little-Changed
by Tom Moeller  September 15, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance edged up to 260,000 (-3.3% y/y) in the week ending September 10 from an unrevised 259,000 in the prior week. The four-week moving average eased to 260,750. 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 monthly change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for jobless benefits were little-changed at 2.143 million (-4.6% y/y) in the week ended September 3. The four-week moving average fell to 2.147 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 27, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.30%), Nebraska (0.43%), North Carolina (0.62%), and Utah (0.62%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.79%), Massachusetts (2.00%), Pennsylvania (2.37%), Connecticut (2.64%), New Jersey (2.75%) and Alaska (2.61%).

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) 09/10/16 09/3/2016 08/27/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 260 259 263 -3.3 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,143 2,142 -4.6 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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