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Economy in Brief

U.S. Claims For Jobless Insurance Reverse Earlier Deterioration
by Tom Moeller   November 10, 2010

This latest figure covering labor market conditions indicates improvement after last week's deterioration. Initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped sharply last week to 435,000, the lowest level since early-July. That reversed the prior week's increase to 459,000. The 4-week moving average, which smoothes out some of the w/w volatility, fell to 446,500, the lowest level since September 2008. The latest weekly figure was below Consensus forecasts for 450,000 claims.

Continuing claims for state-administered programs also fell in the latest week to the lowest level since late-2008. The associated unemployment rate slipped to 3.4%, but the previous figure was revised up. 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, slipped to 911,239 on October 23, the latest figure available. In July, the Congress renewed the special Emergency Unemployment Compensation program referred to as EUC 2008. By October, it had a sharply reduced 3.816 million beneficiaries. It will now accept claims through November 30 and will be continuing to pay out benefits until April 30, 2011.

The grand total of all claimants for unemployment insurance includes extended and emergency programs as well as railway employees, recently discharged veterans and federal employees. All together, on October 23 the total number of recipients was 8.625 million, off 5.9% y/y and down from the early-January high of 12.066 million. 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.

Unemployment Insurance(000s) 11/06/10 10/30/10 10/23/10 Y/Y % 2009 2008 2007
Initial Claims  435 459 437 -14.2 572 419 321
Continuing Claims -- 4,340 4,382 -24.5 5,809 3,340 2,549
Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 3.4 3.5 4.2
4.4 2.5 1.9
Total Continuing Claims(NSA) -- -- 8.625M -6.0% 9.170M 3.931M 2.634M
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