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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Rebound, but Still Near 45-Year Low
by Carol Stone, CBE  April 5, 2018

Initial applications for jobless insurance climbed to 242,000 during the week ended March 31 from 218,000 in the prior week. That March 24 number is revised from 215,000. Despite the 24,000 increase in the latest week, initial claims were still the lowest since November 1973. Expectations in the Action Economics Forecast Survey had been for a more modest increase to 223,000 claims. The four-week moving average rose to 228,250.

In the week ended March 24, continuing claims for unemployment insurance declined 3.4% to 1.808 million (-10.7% y/y). The four-week moving average of claimants declined to 1.848 million; this, as last week, is the lowest level since January 5, 1974, when it was 1.838 million.

The insured rate of unemployment was still at the record low of 1.3%.

Insured rates of unemployment varied widely by state. During the week ended March 17, the lowest rates of unemployment were Florida (0.48%), North Carolina (0.50%), Georgia (0.62%), Virginia (0.65%) and Indiana (0.66%). The highest rates were in Rhode Island (2.45%), Montana (2.46%), New Jersey (2.74%), Connecticut (2.89%), and Alaska (3.58%). 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) 03/31/18 03/24/18 03/17/18 Y/Y % 2017 2016 2015
Initial Claims 242 218 227 0.4 245 263 278
Continuing Claims -- 1,808 1,872 -10.7 1,961 2,136 2,267
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 1.3 1.3

1.5
(Mar. 2017)

1.4 1.6 1.7
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