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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Unemployment Insurance Decline
by Tom Moeller   September 22, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance retreated to 423,000 last week from 432,000 during the week prior (revised from 428,000). The figure roughly matched Consensus expectations for 422,000 claims, according to the Action Economics survey. Despite the weekly decline, the 4-week moving average of claims ticked up to 421,000, the highest level in two months.

The latest figure covers the survey period for September nonfarm payrolls. Claims rose 11,000 (2.7%) from the August period. During the last ten years there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in nonfarm payrolls.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance slipped to 3.727M in the September 10th week. It 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 (1.7%), Ohio (1.8%), Colorado (2.0% and Tennessee (2.1%) at the low end of the range. The rates in Nevada (3.4%), California (3.4%), Connecticut (3.5%), Pennsylvania (3.8%) and New Jersey (3.9%) 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 6.889M as of September 3, down by one-quarter y/y. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, fell sharply to 507,700 (-46.5% y/y) and those on the special "EUC 2008" programs fell to a new low of 2.997M (-29.0% 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.

Interest Rates Have Responded To The Fed's New Language from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is availablehere.

Unemployment Insurance(000s) 9/17/11 9/10/11 9/3/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 423 432 417 -8.6 459 574 418
Continuing Claims -- 3,727 3,755 -16.8 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) -- -- 6.889 -25.3 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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