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Economy in Brief

U.S. Weekly Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims Slip
by Tom Moeller  October 13, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance slipped to 404,000 last week versus 405,000 a week earlier (revised from 401,000).  The latest figure roughly equaled Consensus expectations for 405,000 claims, according to the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of claims fell to 408,000, its lowest since mid-August. During the last ten years there has been a 76% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 3.670M in the October 1st week. The insured unemployment rate slipped to 2.9% from an upwardly revised 3.0%. By state, the rate varied with Virginia (1.3%), New Hampshire (1.6%), Texas (1.8%), Indiana (1.8%), Colorado (2.1%) and Tennessee (2.0%) at the low end of the range. The rates in Illinois (2.9%), Connecticut (3.1%), Nevada (3.2%), New Jersey (3.4%), California (3.4%) and Pennsylvania (3.6%) 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 6.822M as of September 24, down by one-quarter y/y. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, recovered the prior week's decline with a rise to 537,165 (-40.8% y/y) and those on the special "EUC 2008" programs slipped to 3.016M (-22.4% 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.

Recent Layoffs in a Fragile Labor Market from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Unemployment Insurance (000s) 10/8/11 10/1/11 9/24/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 404 405 395 -12.7 461 577 413
Continuing Claims -- 3,670 3,725 -16.7 4,544 5,807 3,338
 Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 2.9 3.0 3.5
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 6.822 -21.5 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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