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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise
by Tom Moeller  October 26, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance applications rose to 233,000 (-9.5% y/y) during the week ended October 21 following a decline to 223,000 in the prior week, revised from 222,000. The figure remained near its 1973 low. The Labor Department indicated that the number of claims continued to be disrupted in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands by recent hurricanes. Expectations had been for 235,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average declined to 239,500, its lowest level since late August.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 1.893 million (-8.2% y/y) in the week ended October 14 from 1.896 million the week before. It was the lowest level since December 1973. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.904 million.

The insured unemployment rate remained at the  record low of 1.3%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied across the country. For the week ended October 7, the recently high insured rate of unemployment in Texas rose to 1.25%. The lowest insured rates of unemployment were in South Dakota (0.22%), Nebraska (0.41%), Indiana (0.44%), North Carolina (0.48%), Utah (0.51%) and Florida (0.59%). The highest rates continued to be in Massachusetts (1.51%), Pennsylvania (1.58%), California (1.71%), Connecticut (1.75%), New Jersey (1.97%) and Alaska (2.36%). 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) 10/21/17 10/14/17 10/07/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 233 223 244 -9.5 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,893 1,896 -8.2 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.3

(Oct 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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