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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Claims Rise, Reach Highest Since June
by Carol Stone, CBE  November 21, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose 3,000 in the week ended November 17 to 224,000 (-6.3% y/y); the prior week's initially reported 216,000 was revised upward by 5,000 to 221,000. The latest week's 224,000 is the highest since 232,000 at the very end of June. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 215,000 claims. The four-week moving average of initial claims is 218,500.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance actually decreased slightly in the November 10 week to 1.668 million (-12.9% y/y) from 1.670 million in the prior week; that earlier figure was revised downward from 1.676 million. The four-week moving average of claimants climbed to 1.650 million from 1.642 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.2%.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. Preliminary data for the week ending November 3 show that the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.20%), North Dakota and Nebraska (0.30%), and North Carolina (0.40%), with Florida, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia all at 0.50%. The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.50%), Connecticut (1.60%), California (1.70%), New Jersey (1.90%) and Alaska (2.50%). Among the other largest states by population, the rates were 1.20% in New York, 1.40% in Illinois, and 0.90% 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 by state are in REGIONW. The expectations figure is from the Action Economics Forecast Survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 11/17/18 11/10/18 11/03/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 224 221 214 -6.3 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,668 1,670 -12.9 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Nov. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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