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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Edge Down
by Gerald D. Cohen  May 9, 2019

Initial claims for unemployment insurance declined 2,000 to 228,000 (+8.1% year-on-year) during the week ended May 4 from an unrevised reading of 230,000 in the previous week. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected claims to decline to 220,000. The four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 220,250 from 212,500.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose 13,000 to 1.684 million (-5.8% y/y) in the week ending April 27, from the unrevised 1.671 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1.666 million from 1.674 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at the record low 1.2%, where it has been since May 2018. Data on the insured unemployment rate go back to 1971.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. During the week ending April 20th, the lowest rates were in Nebraska (0.38%), Florida (0.40%), South Dakota (0.40%), North Carolina (0.43%), and Tennessee (0.46%). The highest rates were in California (1.95%), Rhode Island (2.08%), New Jersey (2.15%), Connecticut (2.38%), and Alaska (2.49%). Among the other largest states by population not mentioned above the rate was 0.93% in Texas, 1.38% in New York and 1.62% in Pennsylvania. These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment claims going back to 1967 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) 05/04/19 04/27/19 04/20/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 228 230 230 8.1 220 244 262
Continuing Claims -- 1,684 1,671 -5.8 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Apr. 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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