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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Edge Down
by Carol Stone, CBE  June 20, 2019

Initial unemployment insurance claims decreased to 216,000 in the week ended June 15 from an unrevised 222,000 the week before. Claims remained near their lowest level since December 1969. The latest reading compared to expectations for 220,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average of initial claims did rise, to 218,750 from 217,750 in the previous week. During the last 20 years, there has been a 70% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance also decreased, to 1.662 million in the week ending June 8 from 1.699 million in the June 1 week; that earlier figure was revised from 1.695 million. The four-week moving average of claimants declined 5,250 to 1.679 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at the record low of 1.2% in the week ending June 8, where it's been for since May 2018. This weekly series dates back to 1971. Monthly data start in 1949 and the current 1.2% level is also the lowest ever on that basis.

Insured rates of unemployment vary widely by state. In the week ending June 1, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.29%), Nebraska (0.39%), Florida (0.41%), North Carolina (0.45%), Indiana (0.46%) and New Hampshire (0.46%). The highest rates were in Pennsylvania (1.55%), Connecticut (1.74%), California (1.86%), New Jersey (1.92%) and Alaska (2.09%). Among the other largest states by population, the rate was 0.98% in Texas, 1.23% in New York and 1.40% in Illinois. 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 in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (SA, 000s) 06/15/19 06/08/19 06/01/19 Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Initial Claims 216 222 219 1.4 220 244 262
Continuing Claims  -- 1,662 1,699 -4.2 1,756 1,961 2,135
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.2 1.2

(Jun 2018)

1.2 1.4 1.6
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