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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Claims For Jobless Insurance Back Up
by Tom Moeller January 15, 2009

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose last week and recovered a piece of the decline in earlier weeks. The 54,000 week-to-week increase to 524,000 followed declines of 21,000 (slightly revised) and 98,000 during the prior two weeks. These latter declines were widely attributed to aberrant seasonal factors, although a problem near this magnitude has not been observed since 2001. The latest increase exceeded Consensus expectations for a rise to 501,000.

The Labor Department indicated that the largest increases in initial claims for the week ending January 3 were in New York (+24,465), North Carolina (+19,749), Georgia (+18,308), South Carolina (+14,905), and Virginia (+7,362), while the largest decreases were in California (-14,796), Kansas (-13,313), Michigan (-11,956), Illinois (-9,727), and Ohio (-7,499).

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance during the week of January 3 fell 115,000 and that reversed roughly half of the prior week's increase. The four-week average of continuing claims rose 27,500 to 4,500,000. Continuing claims provide some indication of workers' ability to find employment and they lag the initial claims figures by one week.

The insured rate of unemployment remained stable for the third week at this cycle's high of 3.4%. The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending December 27 were in Oregon (7.4 percent), Michigan (6.6), Idaho (6.3), Wisconsin (6.0), South Carolina (5.4), Arkansas (5.3), Nevada (5.2), Pennsylvania (5.2), Indiana (5.1), and Montana (5.1).

Three Funerals and a Wedding from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is available here.

The Current Recession: How Bad Is It? also from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  01/10/09 01/03/09 12/27/08 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006 
Initial Claims 524 470 491 66.3% 420 321 313
Continuing Claims -- 4,497 4,612 64.5% 3,342 2,552 2,459
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