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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Applications Fall
by Tom Moeller  November 2, 2017

Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined to 229,000 (-12.2% y/y) during the week ended October 28 from 234,000 in the prior week, revised from 233,000. 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 232,500, its lowest level since August 1974.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 1.884 million (-7.7% y/y) in the week ended October 21  from 1.899 million the week before. The four-week moving average of claimants fell to 1.896 million.

The insured unemployment rate eased to the record low of 1.3%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied across the country. For the week ended October 14, the recently high insured rate of unemployment in Texas fell sharply to its late-2014 low of 1.11%. The lowest insured rates of unemployment were in South Dakota (0.23%), Nebraska (0.40%), North Dakota (0.43%), Indiana (0.45%), North Carolina (0.51%) and Utah (0.52%). The highest rates continued to be in Massachusetts (1.51%), Pennsylvania (1.66%), California (1.79%), Connecticut (1.80%), New Jersey (2.04%) and Alaska (2.57%). 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) 10/28/17 10/21/17 10/14/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 229 234 223 -12.2 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,884 1,899 -7.7 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.4

(Oct 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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