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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline
by Carol Stone, CBE  December 29, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance eased to 265,000 (-7.0% y/y) in the week ended December 24 following an unrevised increase to 275,000 in the December 17 week. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey also showed 265,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims decreased slightly to 263,000 from 263,750 the week before.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 2.102 million (-5.0% y/y) in the December 17 week from 2.039 million. The four-week moving average of claimants was up slightly to 2.042 million from 2.038 million.

The insured rate of unemployment was 1.5%, which is also the average since September. The record low of this 45-year-old series was 1.4% in the week ended November 5.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary. Among the lower-48 states, for the week ended December 10, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.56%), North Carolina (0.61%), Tennessee (0.65%) and Nebraska (0.67%); two states were tied at 0.70%: South Dakota and Virginia. The highest rates were found in Montana (2.60%), New Jersey (2.48%), Pennsylvania (2.35%), California (2.33%) and Connecticut (2.24%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted, and possibly seasonal forces account for at least some part of the jump in Alaska to 4.78% from 4.04% the week before.

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 (SA, 000s) 12/24/16 12/17/16 12/10/16 Y/Y % 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 265 275 254 -7.0 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,102 2,039 -5.0 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Dec. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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