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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims for Jobless Insurance Rise
by Tom Moeller  September 8, 2011

Initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 414,000 last week from 412,000 during the week prior (revised from 409,000). The latest figure exceeded expectations for 405,000 claims according to the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of 414,750 claims was the highest since late-July. For the most part, however, claims have been moving sideways for much of this year.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.717M in the August 27 week. It also has been trending sideways since early this year. The insured unemployment rate held at 3.0%. By state, the rate varied with Virginia (1.4%), Texas (1.9%),  Ohio (2.0%), Colorado (2.1%) and Tennessee (2.2%) at the low end of the range. The rates in Nevada (3.4%), Alaska (3.8%), Connecticut (3.8%), New Jersey (4.1%) and Pennsylvania (4.1%) were at the high end.

The grand total of those receiving unemployment insurance, including extended programs run by the states and the federal government, was 7.169M as of August 20, down by one-quarter y/y. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, fell to 536,892 (-44.1% y/y) and those on the special 2008 "EUC 2008" programs fell to 3.061M (-32.1% 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.

The U.S. Economic Outlook is today's speech by Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and it can be found here.

The latest Beige Book from the Federal Reserve covering regional economic conditions can be found here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 9/3/11 8/27/11 8/20/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 414 412 421 -9.0 459 574 418
Continuing Claims -- 3,717 3,747 -17.7 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) -- -- 7.169M -26.2 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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