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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Fall
by Tom Moeller  August 17, 2017

Initial unemployment insurance applications declined to 232,000 (-9.8% y/y) during the week ended August 12 from an unrevised 244,000 during the prior week. Expectations were for 240,000 claims in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The four-week moving average eased to 240,500 and remained near the 1973 low.

The latest initial claims figure covers the survey week for August nonfarm payrolls. Claims fell 2,000 (-0.9%) from the July survey period. 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 1.953 million (-9.3% y/y) in the week ended August 5, following a decline to 1.956 million in the prior week. The four-week moving average of claimants declined to a lessened 1.960 million.

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 29, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (0.32%), Indiana (0.50%), Nebraska (0.54%), Utah (0.55%), North Carolina (0.57%) and Florida (0.66%). The highest rates were found in Rhode Island (1.99%), California (2.11%), Alaska (2.20%), Pennsylvania (2.24%), Connecticut (2.43%) and New Jersey (2.68%). 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) 08/12/17 08/05/17 07/29/17 Y/Y % 2016 2015 2014
Initial Claims 232 244 241 -9.8 263 278 308
Continuing Claims -- 1,953 1,956 -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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