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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Increase
by Tom Moeller  October 20, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 260,000 during the week ended October 15 following 247,000 during the prior week, revised from 246,000. The four-week moving average of claims rose to 251,750, near the lowest level since November 1973. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 250,000 claims in the latest week.

The latest figure covers the survey week for October nonfarm payrolls, and initial claims rose 9,000 (3.6%) from the September period. 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 rose 0.3% to 2.057 million (-6.0% y/y) in the week ended October 8. The four-week moving average fell to 2.058 million, the lowest point since July 2000.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.5% for the fifth straight week, near the record low.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. The state data are not seasonally adjusted and are reported with a two-week lag. For the week ended October 1, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.26%), Nebraska (0.38%), North Carolina (0.55%), Utah (0.56%), Maine (0.68%) and South Carolina (0.73%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.53`%), Massachusetts (1.61%), Pennsylvania (1.76%), Connecticut (1.99%), New Jersey (2.12%) and Alaska (2.70%).

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) 10/15/16 10/08/16 10/01/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 260 247 246 -1.9 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,057 2,050 -6.0 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Oct. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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