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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Turn Back Lower
by Carol Stone, CBE  November 1, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance edged down to 214,000 (-8.5% y/y) during the week ended October 27 from 216,000 in the previous week, which was revised up by 1,000. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected a reading of 215,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims rose 1,750 to 213,750.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance decreased 7,000 to 1.631 million (-14.1% y/y) in the week ending October 20, from 1.638 million in the prior week, which was again revised upward but very modestly. This is the smallest number since July 28, 1973 (this series goes back to 1967). The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1,640,750, also a 55-year low. The previous week's reading was also revised a touch higher.

The insured rate of unemployment stayed at its new record low of 1.1% for a second week. Data on the insured unemployment rate go back to 1971.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending October 13, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.22%), North Dakota (0.32%), Nebraska (0.36%), Indiana (0.41%), and Florida (0.44%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.41%), Connecticut (1.57%), California (1.60%), New Jersey (1.86%), and Alaska (1.93%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate were 1.15% in New York, Illinois at 1.27% 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) 10/27/18 10/20/18 10/13/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 214 216 210 -8.5 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,631 1,638 -14.1 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.1 1.1

(Oct 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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