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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Slip
by Tom Moeller  September 14, 2017

Initial claims for unemployment insurance eased to 284,000 (+10.8% y/y) during the week ended September 9, following an unrevised jump to 298,000 due to Hurricane Harvey in the prior week. Expectations had been for 300,000 initial claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average increased to 263,250. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased to 1.944 million (-8.6% y/y) in the week ended September 2, after rising to 1.951 million the week before. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.949 million.

The insured unemployment rate remained at the record low of 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely across the country. For the week ended August 26, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.24%), Nebraska (0.43%), Indiana (0.50%), Utah (0.52%), North Carolina (0.54%) and Tennessee (0.66%). The highest rates were found in Rhode Island (1.93%), California (1.99%), Alaska (2.09%), Pennsylvania (2.11%), Connecticut (2.40%) and New Jersey (2.65%). 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) 09/09/17 09/02/17 08/26/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 284 298 236 10.8 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,944 1,951 -8.6 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(Sep 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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