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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Increase
by Tom Moeller  April 20, 2017

Initial unemployment claims for unemployment insurance rose to 244,000 during the week ended April 15 (-5.1% y/y) from an unrevised 234,000 in the prior week. It was the highest level of claims in three weeks. Expectations had been for 240,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average fell to 243,000, the lowest level since early last month.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey period for April nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 17,000 (-6.5%) from the March survey period. 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 April 8 declined to 1.979 million (-7.7% y/y) from 2.028 million. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 2.026 million, the lowest level since June 2000.

The insured unemployment rate declined to 1.4% and matched the record low.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended April 1, the lowest rates were in North Carolina (0.53%), Nebraska (0.58%), Tennessee (0.62%), Georgia (0.69%), South Carolina (0.67%) and Virginia (0.70%). The highest rates were found in Massachusetts (2.35%), Rhode Island (2.39%), California (2.45%), Connecticut (2.68%), New Jersey (2.76%) and Alaska (3.62%). 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.

The Fed's latest Beige Book covering regional economic conditions can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 04/15/17 04/08/17 04/01/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 244 234 235 -5.1 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,979 2,028 -7.7 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.5

(Apr 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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