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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Initial Claims Insurance For Jobless Insurance Fall To New Low
by Tom Moeller November 25, 2009

The job market continued to improve last week. The Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 466,000 from a downwardly revised 501,000 during the prior week. The latest level was the lowest since early-September of last year and are down  sharply from the peak reached in March of 674,000 claims. The four-week moving average of claims fell to 497,000 and the latest weekly figure was lower than Consensus expectations for 500,000 claims.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance during the latest week fell 109,000 to their lowest level since late February. The decline reflects the improved job market but may also be a function of the exhaustion of benefits. Continuing claims provide an indication of workers' ability to find employment. The four-week average of continuing claims fell modestly to 5,614,750. This series dates back to 1966.

Extended benefits for unemployment insurance rose fell modestly w/w and averaged 539,531 in early-November versus 550,343 during October.

The insured rate of unemployment fell to 4.1% and matched its lowest since late-March. The rate reached a high of 5.2% during late-June. During the last ten years, there has been a 93% correlation between the level of the insured unemployment rate and the overall rate of unemployment published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

he highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending November 7 were in Puerto Rico (6.2%), Oregon (5.5), Nevada (5.1), Alaska (5.1), Wisconsin (4.9), Pennsylvania (4.9), California (4.7), Michigan (4.6), and South Carolina (4.4). The lowest insured unemployment rates were in North Dakota (1.1%), Virginia (1.9), Texas (2.5), Maine (2.7), Wyoming (2.8), Ohio (3.2), Maryland (2.8), New York (3.5), Mississippi (3.5) and Florida (3.7).

The unemployment insurance claims data is available in Haver's WEEKLY database and the state data is in the REGIONW database.

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s)  11/21/09 11/14/09 11/07/09 Y/Y 2008 2007 2006 
Initial Claims 466 501 505 -10.4% 420 321 313
ContinuingClaims -- 5,423 5,613 34.9% 3,342 2,552 2,459
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 4.1 4.3 3.1(11/2008) 2.5 1.9 1.9
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