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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Inch Higher, Rate Ticks Up
by Carol Stone, CBE  November 15, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 216,000 (-13.6% y/y) during the week ended November 10 from 214,000 in the previous week, which was unrevised. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 213,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims of 215,250 stands above the low of 206,000 in mid-September.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 1.676 million (-11.3% y/y) in the week ending November 3 from 1.630 million in the prior week, which was revised from 1.623 million. This is the highest level of continuing claims since September 1. The four-week moving average of claimants climbed to 1.644 million from 1.635 million.

The insured rate of unemployment inched back up to 1.2% after sitting at the record low of 1.1% for three weeks. These data extend back to 1971. Prior to September 2016, the record low had been 1.6% in 2000.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending October 27, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.21%), North Dakota (0.31%) and Nebraska (0.33%), with Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Utah all at 0.46%. The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.42%), Connecticut (1.56%), California (1.64%), New Jersey (1.88%) and Alaska (2.20%). Among the other largest states by population, the rates were 1.16% in New York, 1.26% in Illinois, 0.85% in Texas and 0.48% 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) 11/10/18 11/03/18 10/27/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 216 214 215 -13.6 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,676 1,630 -11.3 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.1

(Nov. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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