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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Fall
by Tom Moeller  October 27, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 258,000 (-2.6% y/y) during the week ended October 22 following a rise to 261,000 in the week prior, revised from 260,000. The four-week moving average of claims rose to 253,000, but remained near the lowest level since November 1973. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 255,000 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 declined 0.7% to 2.039 million (-6.1% y/y) in the week ended October 15. The four-week moving average fell to 2.051 million, the lowest point since July 2000.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.5% for the sixth 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 8, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.29%), Nebraska (0.38%), North Carolina (0.54%), Utah (0.57%), Maine (0.68%) and South Carolina (0.74%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.55%), Massachusetts (1.59%), Pennsylvania (1.82%), Connecticut (1.96%), New Jersey (2.11%) and Alaska (2.80%).

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) 10/22/16 10/15/16 10/08/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 258 261 247 -2.6 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,039 2,054 -6.1 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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