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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Decline
by Tom Moeller  November 22, 2017

The labor market remains on a firm footing. Initial unemployment insurance applications fell to 239,000 (-4.7% y/y) during the week ended November 18, and reversed the prior week's increase. Expectations had been for 240,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average rose slightly to 239,750 but remained near the record low.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey week for November nonfarm payrolls. Claims rose 16,000 (7.2%) from the October period. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased to 1.904 million (-7.7% y/y) in the week ended November 11 from 1.868 million in the week prior. The four-week moving average of claimants held fairly steady at 1.890 million, near the lowest point since January 1974.

The insured unemployment rate rose to 1.4% from the 1.3% record low.

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) 11/18/17 11/11/17 11/04/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 239 252 239 -4.7 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,904 1,868 -7.7 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.3

(Nov. 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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