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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Retreat
by Tom Moeller  September 1, 2011

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell to 409,000 in the week ended August 27, down from 421,000 during the prior week (revised from 417,000). The latest figure roughly matched an expected 407,000 according to the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of 410,250 claims was the highest in one month. Nevertheless, claims have been moving sideways for most of this year.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.735M in the August 20 week. It also has been trending sideways since early this year. The insured unemployment rate held at 3.0%.

The grand total of those receiving unemployment insurance, including extended programs run by the States and the federal government, was 7.336M as of August 13, down by one-quarter y/y. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, rose slightly to 557,923 (-38.1% y/y) and those on the special 2008 "EUC 2008" programs increased to 3.118M (-31.6% y/y).

Data on weekly unemployment insurance programs are contained in Haver's WEEKLY database, including the seasonal factor series, and they are 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 estimates are in AS1REPNA.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 8/27/11 8/20/11 8/13/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 409 421 412 -12.6 459 574 418
Continuing Claims -- 3,735 3,753 -16.2 4,544 5,807 3,338
Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 3.0 3.0 3.5
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 7.336M -25.1 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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