Unemployment Claims Data Shows Diverse Picture for States

July 27, 2015

This week we look at unemployment continuing claims data at the State level.

Below the Surface of National Claims Data is a Diverse Picture for States 

Last week the US Department of Labor released job statistics for the week ending July 18.  As has been widely reported, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance was the lowest since 1973.


Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

At the State level, we prefer to look at continuing claims: the initial claims data by State tends to be a little noisy.  The chart below displays the year over year change in the 4-week rolling average of continuing claims.


The most dramatic changes in continuing claims are in energy related States.   North Dakota’s change appears very large in percentage terms (+132%), but it is calculated on a very small base:  as of July 18, the number of continuing claims in North Dakota was 7,095 people.

The continuing claims data reflects significant job losses in oil dependent states.  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the cuts to oil workers have included more and higher skilled workers than firms originally anticipated.


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Map of the Week:  Employment Share – Natural Resources and Mining

Just as we expect low oil prices to impact oil-dependent economies, we also expect declining commodity prides to pressure economies with a heavy dependence of natural resources and mining.


 Have a great week,

 Michael Craft, CFA

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