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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Steady in Dec. 23 Week
by Carol Stone, CBE  December 28, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance claims were steady at 245,000 (-5.0% y/y) in the week ended December 23. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for 240,000 claims. The four-week moving average edged higher to 237,750. 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.

In the week ended December 16, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 1.943 million (-7.3% y/y) from 1.936 million in the week prior. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 1.920 million, remaining near the lowest level since January 1974.

The insured unemployment rate rose slightly to 1.4% and remained near the record low of 1.3%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. For the week ended December 9, the low end of the range included North Carolina (0.51%), Indiana (0.54%), Florida (0.57%), Nebraska (0.58%) and South Dakota (0.60%). At the high end were Pennsylvania (2.15%), Montana (2.16%), California (2.23%), New Jersey (2.34%) and Alaska (4.09%). 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) 12/23/17 12/16/17 12/09/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 245 245 225 -5.0 263 278 308
Continuing Claims 1,943 1,932 -7.3 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) 1.4 1.4

(Dec. 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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