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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rise
by Tom Moeller  August 10, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance applications rose to 244,000 (-9.4% y/y) during the week ended August 5, up from 241,000 during the prior week which was revised from 240,000. The expectations were for 240,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average eased to 241,000 and remained near the 1973 low. 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 fell to 1.951 million (-9.3% y/y) in the week ended July 29, following a slight rise to 1.967 million. The four-week moving average of claimants was little changed at 1.965 million, the highest level since late-April.

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

Insured rates of unemployment continue to vary widely across the country. For the week ended July 22, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.30%), Indiana (0.51%), Nebraska (0.54%), North Carolina (0.57%), Utah (0.57%) and Florida (0.66%). The highest rates were found in Rhode Island (2.04%), California (2.07%), Alaska (2.18%), Pennsylvania (2.22%), Connecticut (2.48%) and New Jersey (2.69%). 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) 08/05/17 07/29/17 07/22/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 244 241 245 -9.4 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,951 1,967 -9.3 2,136 2,267 2,599
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

1.6
(July 2016)

1.6 1.7 2.0
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