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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Move Higher
by Gerald D. Cohen  October 25, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased to 215,000 (-8.1% y/y) during the week ended October 20 from an unrevised 210,000 in the previous week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a reading of 213,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims was unhanged at 211,750.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance decreased 5,000 to 1.636 million (-14.2% y/y) in the week ending October 13, from the slightly upwardly revised 1.641 million in the prior week. This is the lowest reading since August 1973 (this series goes back to 1967). The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1,646,500, also a 55-year low. The previous week's reading was revised a touch higher.

The insured rate of unemployment declined to a new record low of 1.1% after remaining at 1.2% since early May. Data on the insured unemployment rate goes back to 1971.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending October 6, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.20%), North Dakota (0.29%), Nebraska (0.36%), Indiana (0.41%), and Florida (0.44%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.42%), Connecticut (1.53%), California (1.59%), New Jersey (1.81%), and Alaska (1.83%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate was 1.14% in New York and 0.85% 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) 10/20/18 10/13/18 10/06/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 215 210 215 -8.1 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,636 1,641 -14.2 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.1 1.2

(Oct 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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