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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Surge to Five-Month High
by Tom Moeller  December 1, 2016

Initial claims for jobless insurance jumped to 268,000 (-2.2% y/y) during the week ended November 26 from an unrevised 251,000 in the prior week. Expectations had been for 250,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. It was the highest level of claims since the end of June. The four week moving average of claims rose slightly to 251,500. 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 unemployment insurance increased to 2.081 million (-5.0% y/y) from 2.043 million. It was the highest number of claimants since the second week of September. The four week moving average of claimants rose modestly to 2.038 million.

The insured rate of unemployment held at 1.5% for a second week.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. For the week ended November 12, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.38%), Nebraska (0.44%), Florida (0.56%), North Carolina (0.58%), Indiana (0.67%) and Georgia (0.73%). The highest rates were found in Illinois (1.65%), Massachusetts (1.73%), Pennsylvania (1.96%), Connecticut (2.09%), New Jersey (2.39%) and Alaska (3.92%). 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.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 11/26/16 11/19/16 11/12/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 268 251 233 -2.2 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,081 2,043 -5.0 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Nov. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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