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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Decline
by Tom Moeller  June 8, 2017

Initial claims for jobless insurance during the week ended June 3 fell to 245,000 (-8.7% y/y) following a rise to 255,000 during the prior week, revised from 248,000. Expectations called for 240,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average increased slightly to 242,000. During the last ten years, there has been a 72% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased to 1.917 million (-10.1% y/y) in the week ended May 27 from 1.919 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claimants held steady at 1.915 million.

The insured unemployment rate remained at the record low of 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment across states continue to vary widely. For the week ended May 20, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.30%), Nebraska (0.44%), North Carolina (0.52%), Florida (0.52%), Tennessee (0.65%) and Georgia (0.67%). The highest rates were found in Alaska (2.79%), New Jersey (2.18%), California (2.10%), Connecticut (2.05%), Massachusetts (1.72%) and Illinois (1.70%). These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

The unemployment insurance claims data begin January 2, 1971. 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) 06/03/17 05/27/17 05/20/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 245 255 235 -8.7 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,917 1,919 -10.1 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

1.6
(May 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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