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Economy in Brief

Initial Claims For Jobless Insurance Slip, But Total Claimants Fall Sharply
by Tom Moeller   September 30, 2010

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell 16,000 last week to 453,000 from an upwardly revised 469,000 in the week prior (originally 465,000).The 4-week moving average fell slightly to 463,250. The latest weekly decline was greater than Consensus forecasts for a decline to 458,000. During the last ten years there has been a 78% correlation between the level of initial unemployment insurance claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for state-administered programs fell slightly to 4.457M during the week of September 18 while the associated unemployment rate slipped to 3.5% from an upwardly revised 3.6%. These claimants are, however, only about half of the total number of people currently receiving unemployment insurance. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, fell sharply to 913,113 on September 11, the latest available figure and still near the series' high. In July, the Congress renewed the special Emergency Unemployment Compensation program referred to as EUC 2008. By September 11, also the latest available for this program, it had 3.966M beneficiaries. It will now accept claims through November 30 and will be continuing to pay out benefits until April 30, 2011.

Haver Analytics calculates a grand total of all claimants for unemployment insurance. This series includes extended and emergency programs as well as selective programs for railway employees, recently discharged veterans and federal employees. All together, on September 11, the total number of recipients was 8.889M, off 4.0% y/y and down from the early-January high of 11.989M. These data are not seasonally adjusted.

Data on weekly unemployment insurance programs are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database and summarized monthly in USECON. Data for individual states, including the unemployment rates that determine individual state eligibility for the extended benefits programs and specific "tiers" of the emergency program, are in REGIONW, a database of weekly data for states and various regional divisions. Action Economics' Consensus forecasts for a collection of major economic indicators are contained in the AS1REPNA database.

How Should Monetary Policy Respond to a Slow Recovery? is the title of yesterday's speech by Boston Fed President Eric S. Rosengren and it is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 09/25/10 09/18/10 09/11/10 Y/Y 2009 2008 2007
Initial Claims 453 469 453 -17.0% 572 419 321
Continuing Claims -- 4,457 4,540 -25.8 5,809 3,340 2,549
Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 3.5 3.6 4.6
4.4 2.5 1.9
Total Continuing Claims* (NSA) -- -- 8.889M -4.0% 9.085M 3.884M 2.584M

* Calculated by Haver Analytics, as the sum of regular state programs, extended benefits, federal employees, veterans, railroad retirement board and "EUC" 2000

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