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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Reach 48-Year Low
by Carol Stone, CBE  March 1, 2018

Initial unemployment insurance claims fell to 210,000 (-7.9% y/y) during the week ended February 24 from 220,000 in the prior week, which was revised from 222,000. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey looked for 226,000 claims. The four-week moving average eased to 220,500, the smallest amount since December 27, 1969.

In the week ended February 17, continuing claims for unemployment insurance rose to 1.931 million (-5.7% y/y) from 1.874 million. The four-week moving average of claimants still did decline, to 1.920 million from 1.926 million the week before.

The insured rate of unemployment returned to its longstanding 1.4% from the prior week's 1.3%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended February 10, southern states were again the lowest, including Florida (0.40%), North Carolina (0.57%), Georgia (0.71%), Virginia (0.75%) and Tennessee (0.77%). Northeastern states were generally the highest, including New Jersey (2.96%), Connecticut (2.88%), Rhode Island (2.72%) and Massachusetts (2.57%); other high end states were Montana (2.80%) and Alaska (3.81%). 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) 02/24/18 02/17/18 02/10/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 210 220 229 -7.9 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,931 1,874 -5.7 1,962 2,135 2,266
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.4 1.3

(Feb. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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