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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Increase Moderately
by Carol Stone, CBE  September 27, 2018

Initial unemployment insurance applications rose to 214,000 (-17.1% y/y) during the week ended September 22 from 202,000 in the prior week, which was revised up by 1,000. A smaller increase to 206,000 was anticipated in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims was 206,250, almost equal to the previous week's 206,000. The latest individual week's rise may be related to the resumption of business activity in the states impacted by Hurricane Florence, for the simple fact that the closure of Labor Department offices during the storm had prevented people from filing during the prior week.

In the week ending September 15, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 16,000 to 1.661 million (-13.6% y/y) from 1.645 million a week earlier; that earlier number was unrevised. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1.679 million. This is the lowest four-week average since November 10, 1973 -- almost 45 years -- when it was 1.673 million.

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 September 8, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.19%), Nebraska (0.35%), North Dakota (0.35%), Indiana (0.43%), North Carolina (0.43%) and Utah (0.46%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.63%), Connecticut (1.67%), California (1.71%), Alaska (1.72%), and New Jersey (2.16%). Among other of the largest states by population, the rate was 1.30% in New York, 0.96% in Texas and 0.49% in Florida. 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) 09/22/18 09/15/18 09/08/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 214 202 204 -17.1 245 262 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,661 1,645 -13.6 1,961 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Sep 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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