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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Increase
by Tom Moeller  February 2, 2017

Initial filings for unemployment insurance declined to 246,000 (-14.0% y/y) during the week ended January 28 from 260,000 claims in the prior week, revised from 259,000. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for 252,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims increased to 248,400. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined to 2.064 million (-8.2% y/y) in the week of January 21 from 2.103 million. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 2.080 million, but has risen slightly during the prior two months.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.5%, which has been the average since September.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended January 14, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.56%), North Carolina (0.68%), Tennessee (0.81%), Virginia (0.85%), South Dakota (0.94%) and Nebraska (0.97%). The highest rates were found in California (2.35%), Pennsylvania (2.87%), Connecticut (2.98%), New Jersey (3.03%), Montana (3.11%) and Alaska (4.65%). 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 (SA, 000s) 01/28/17 01/21/17 01/14/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 246 260 237 -14.0 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 2,064 2,103 -8.2 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Jan. 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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