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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Remain Low
by Tom Moeller  August 2, 2018

Initial unemployment insurance claims inched higher to 218,000 during the week ended July 28 from an unrevised 217,000 during the prior week. Claims remained near the lowest level since late-1969. The Action Economics Forecast Survey called for 218,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims eased to 214,500. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

In the week ending July 21, continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 1.724 million from 1.747 million a week earlier, revised from 1.745 million. The four-week moving average of claimants was 1.742 million versus 1.746 million in the prior week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at its record low of 1.2%, where it's been since early-May.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended July 13, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.27%), Nebraska (0.46%), Indiana (0.47%), North Carolina (0.49%) and Florida (0.57%). The highest rates were in New Jersey (2.51%), Connecticut (2.28%), Pennsylvania (2.13%), Alaska (2.02%) and Rhode Island (2.00%). Amongst other large states the rate was 1.91% in California, 1.63% in Illinois, 1.52% in New York, 1.30% in Washington and 1.09% in Texas. 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) 07/28/18 07/21/18 07/14/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 218 217 208 -10.3 245 262 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,724 1,747 -12.2 1,961 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Jul 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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