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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Retrace Earlier Gains
by Tom Moeller  November 10, 2016

Initial claims for jobless insurance claims declined to 254,000 (-8.0% y/y) during the week ended November 5 following an unrevised increase to 265,000 claims in the week prior. It was the lowest level of claims in four weeks. The four-week moving average of claims edged higher to 259,750, but remained near the lowest level since November 1973. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 260,000 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 increased 0.9% to 2.041 million (-6.6% y/y) in the week ended October 29, and reversed the prior week's increase. The four-week moving average fell to 2.040 million, the lowest point since June 2000.

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

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. For the week ended October 22, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.29%), Nebraska (0.46%), Utah (0.58%), North Carolina (0.64%), Maine (0.74%) and South Carolina (0.77%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.56%), Massachusetts (1.62%), Pennsylvania (1.78%), Connecticut (1.99%), New Jersey (2.19%) and Alaska (3.08%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted.

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.

Has the Fed Fallen behind the Curve This Year? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/05/16 10/29/16 10/22/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 254 265 259 -8.0 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,041 2,023 -6.6 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Oct. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2
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