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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Inch Higher
by Tom Moeller  March 3, 2016

Initial claims for unemployment insurance claims increased to 278,000 during the week ended February 27 following an unrevised increase to 272,000 during the prior week. The four-week moving average slipped to 270,250 and remained near a two-month low. Consensus expectations were for 270,000 applications in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

In the week ending February 20, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 2.257 million (-5.8 y/y) from 2.254 million. The four-week moving average eased to 2.257 million.

The insured rate of unemployment remained at 1.7%, about where it's been since last March.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continued to vary. Near the low end of the range were Florida (0.66%), North Carolina (0.78%), Georgia (0.92%), Virginia (1.00%), Arizona (1.04%) and Tennessee (1.08%). At the high end of the scale were Massachusetts (2.82%), Illinois (2.84%), Connecticut (3.03%), Pennsylvania (3.28%), New Jersey (3.33%) and Alaska (4.71%). The state data are not seasonally adjusted and cover the week ended January 16.

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 survey, carried in the AS1REPNA database.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 02/27/16 02/20/16 02/13/16 Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Initial Claims 278 272 262 -15.6% 277 307 342
Continuing Claims -- 2,257 2,254 -5.8 2,268 2,607 2,978
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.7 1.7

1.8
(Feb. 2015)

1.7 2.0 2.3
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