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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Decline
by Tom Moeller  September 21, 2017

Initial filings for unemployment insurance fell sharply to 259,000 during the week ended September 16 from 282,000 in the prior week, revised from 284,000. Expectations had been for 300,000 initial claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average increased to 268,750.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey period for September nonfarm payrolls. There was an 11.6% increase from 232,000 in the August period. 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 increased to 1.980 million (-5.4% y/y) in the week ended September 9, after falling to 1.936 million the week before. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.953 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 September 2, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.22%), Nebraska (0.42%), North Carolina (0.50%), Utah (0.51%), Indiana (0.54%) and Florida (0.56%). The highest rates were found in Massachusetts (1.73%), California (1.80%), Pennsylvania (1.89%), Alaska (2.03%), Connecticut (2.05%) and New Jersey (2.55%). 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) 09/16/17 09/09/17 09/02/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 259 282 298 3.3 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,980 1,936 -5.4 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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