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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rebound
by Tom Moeller  November 3, 2016

Initial unemployment insurance claims rose to 265,000 (-4.7% y/y) during the week ended October 29 following an unrevised decline to 258,000 in the week prior. The four-week moving average of claims rose to 257,750, but remained near the lowest level since November 1973. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 256,000 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 2.026 million (-7.5% y/y) in the week ended October 22. The four-week moving average fell to 2.043 million, the lowest point since June 2000.

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

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 15, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.29%), Nebraska (0.38%), Utah (0.57%), North Carolina (0.59%), Maine (0.71%) and South Carolina (0.79%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.57%), Massachusetts (1.57%), Pennsylvania (1.84%), Connecticut (2.00%), New Jersey (2.19%) and Alaska (3.09%).

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) 10/29/16 10/22/16 10/15/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 265 258 261 -4.7 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,026 2,040 -7.5 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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