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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Dip
by Tom Moeller  December 7, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance claims slipped to 236,000 (-7.3% y/y) in the week ended December 2 from an unrevised 238,000 in the prior week. Expectations had been for 240,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average fell slightly to 241,500. 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 fell to 1.908 million (-5.9% y/y) in the week ended November 25 from 1.960 million in the week prior. The four-week moving average of claimants rose slightly to 1.913 million, but remained near the lowest point since January 1974.

The insured unemployment rate was unchanged at 1.4% for the third week.

Insured rates of unemployment varied across the country. For the week ended November 18, near the low end of the range were Indiana (0.45%), Florida (0.46%), North Carolina (0.47%), Georgia (0.56%), Virginia (0.61%) and Colorado (0.79%). At the high end were New York (1.44%), California (1.54%), Massachusetts (1.65%), Pennsylvania (1.75%), Connecticut (1.82%) and New Jersey (2.11%). 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.

The Persistence of Financial Distress from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 12/02/17 11/25/17 11/18/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 236 238 240 -7.3 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,908 1,960 -5.9 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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