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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Surge With Hurricane Harvey
by Tom Moeller  September 7, 2017

As Hurricane Harvey shut down business activity in Houston and along the Gulf Coast, initial applications for unemployment insurance jumped to 298,000 (14.9% y/y) during the week ended September 2 from an unrevised 236,000 the prior week. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for 240,000 claims in the latest week. The four-week moving average increased to 250,250.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased to 1.940 million (-8.7% y/y) in the week ended August 26, after falling to 1.945 million the week before. The four-week moving average of claimants as of August 26 fell to 1.948 million.

Thus, the insured unemployment rate remained at it s record low of 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely across the country. For the week ended August 19, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.27%), Nebraska (0.45%), Indiana (0.50%), Utah (0.53%), North Carolina (0.56%) and Tennessee (0.66%). The highest rates were found in California (2.00%), Rhode Island (2.02%), Alaska (2.11%), Pennsylvania (2.16%), Connecticut (2.43%) and New Jersey (2.63%). These 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.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 09/02/17 08/26/17 08/19/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 298 236 235 14.9 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,940 1,945 -8.7 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(Aug 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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