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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Decline Sharply
by Tom Moeller  April 6, 2017

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 234,000 (-13.7% y/y) during the week ended April 1 from 259,000 during the prior week, revised from 258,000. It was the lowest level of claims in five weeks. Expectations had been for 250,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average eased to 250,000. 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 in the week ended March 25 to 2.028 million (-7.3% y/y) from 2.052 million. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 2.0232 million, the lowest level since June 2000.

The insured unemployment rate held at 1.5%, and remained near the record low.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended March 18, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.50%), North Carolina (0.56%), Tennessee (0.68%), Georgia (0.70%), South Carolina (0.71%) and Virginia (0.78%). The highest rates were found in Montana (2.47%), California (2.56%), Rhode Island (2.72%), Connecticut (2.95%), New Jersey (3.02%) 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 Forecast Survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

How Do People Find Jobs? from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 04/01/17 03/25/17 03/18/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 234 259 261 -13.7 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 2,028 2,052 -7.3 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.5 1.5

(Apr 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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