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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Jobless Insurance Claims Post Disappointing Increase
by Tom Moeller July 1, 2010

A modestly rising trend to initial claims for unemployment insurance has become apparent. Claims rose 13,000 last week to 472,000 following a slightly-revised 17,000 decline during the prior week. Consensus expectations were for 455,000 claims and they've inched higher from the February low of 439,000. Nevertheless, last week's figure was down from the recession peak of 651,000 reached in March of 2009. The four-week moving average of initial claims also has crept up to 466,500.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance during the latest week also rose 43,000 and more-than reversed the prior week's decline. Still, claims were down by one-third from the June '09 peak and remained near the lowest level since December of 2008. The overall decline is a function of the improved job market but also reflects the exhaustion of 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. The four-week average of continuing claims slipped to 4.568M, a new cycle low. This series dates back to 1966. 

 Ongoing claims do not reflect those who receive extended benefits. Extended benefits for unemployment insurance slipped during the latest week to 405,081. These figures do not include the 4,515,499 benefit recipients (+80.4% y/y) under state administered "EUC" emergency programs, but paid for by the Federal government.

The insured unemployment rate remained stable at 3.6% for the third week. It reached a high of 4.9% during May of 2009. During the last ten years, there has been a 96% correlation between the level of the insured unemployment rate and the overall rate of unemployment published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending June 12 were in Puerto Rico (6.6 percent), Alaska (5.1), Oregon (4.9), California (4.4), Nevada (4.4), Pennsylvania (4.4), Wisconsin (4.1), Connecticut (4.0), North Carolina (4.0), New Jersey (3.9), and South Carolina (3.9). The lowest insured unemployment rates were in Virginia (1.8), Texas (2.2), Wyoming (2.3), Tennessee (2.6),  Maine (2.7), Maryland (2.8), Georgia (3.0), Florida (3.1), New York (3.2) and Ohio (3.3). These data are not seasonally adjusted but the overall insured unemployment rate is.

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

 Fostering a Healthy Credit Environment is yesterday's speech by Fed Governor Elizabeth A. Duke and it is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 06/26/10 06/19/10 06/12/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Initial Claims 472 459 476 -21.9% 572 419 321
Continuing Claims -- 4,616 4,573 -29.0 5,809 3,340 2,549
Insured Unemployment Rate (%) -- 3.6 3.6 4.9(6/2009) 4.4 2.5 1.9
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