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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Slip
by Tom Moeller  November 30, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance applications eased to 238,000 (-10.2% y/y) in the week ended November 25 from 240,000 in the prior week revised from 239,000. Expectations had been for 241,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average rose slightly to 242,250, the highest level since early last month. 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 1.957 million (-7.6% y/y) in the week ended November 18 from 1.915 million in the week prior. The four-week moving average of claimants rose slightly to 1.911 million, but remained near the lowest point since January 1974.

The insured unemployment rate held steady near the record low at 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied across the country. For the week ended November 11, the lowest insured rates of unemployment were in South Dakota (0.34%), Nebraska (0.42%), North Carolina (0.48%), Indiana (0.49%), Utah (0.57%) and North Dakota (0.67%). The highest rates continued to be in Massachusetts (1.59%), Pennsylvania (1.80%), Connecticut (1.92%), California (1.96%), New Jersey (2.24%) and Alaska (3.36%). 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) 11/25/17 11/18/17 11/11/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 238 240 252 -10.2 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,957 1,915 -7.6 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(Nov. 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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