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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Increase, But Still Low
by Carol Stone, CBE  February 15, 2018

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 230,000 (-5.2% y/y) during the week ended February 10 from 223,000 claims in the prior week, which was slightly revised from 221,000. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey were for 228,000 claims. The four-week moving average increased to 228,500, the second smallest amount in almost exactly 45 years. During the last ten years, there has been a 74% correlation between the level of initial claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

In the week ended February 3, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 1.942 million (-6.0% y/y) from 1.927 million. The four-week moving average of claimants eased to 1.941 million.

The insured rate of unemployment held steady at 1.4%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended January 27, the lowest rates were in Florida (0.51%), North Carolina (0.55%), Georgia (0.73%), Virginia (0.75%) and Tennessee (0.79%). At the high end were Alaska (3.90%), Connecticut (3.02%), New Jersey (3.00%), Montana (2.81%) and Rhode Island (2.75%). These state data are not seasonally adjusted.

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) 02/10/18 02/03/18 01/27/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 230 223 230 -5.2 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,942 1,927 -6.0 1,962 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.4

(Jan. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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