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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise
by Tom Moeller  September 29, 2016

Initial claims for jobless insurance increased to 254,000 (-8.3% y/y) in the week ended September 24 from 251,000 in the prior week, revised from 252,000. The figure remained near the lowest level since October 1973. The four-week moving average eased to 256,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 259,000 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 2.2% to 2.062 million (-6.6% y/y) in the week ended September 17. The four-week moving average fell to 2.115 million, near a four-decade low.

The insured rate of unemployment was stable at 1.5%, near the record low.

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 September 10, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.28%), Nebraska (0.39%), North Carolina (0.60%), Utah (0.60%), Maine (0.73%) and South Carolina (0.81%). The highest rates were found in Massachusetts (1.68%), Illinois (1.85%), Pennsylvania (2.04%), Connecticut (2.08%), New Jersey (2.35%) and Alaska (2.60%).

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.

All Layoffs Are Not Created Equal from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia can be found here here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 09/24/16 09/17/16 09/10/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 254 251 260 -8.3 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,062 2,108 -6.6 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Sep. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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