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Economy in Brief

U.S. Initial Claims For Jobless Insurance Fall To New Low
by Tom Moeller  November 17, 2011

Initial claims for jobless insurance fell last week to 388,000 from 393,000 (revised from 390,000) during the week prior. The latest figure was the lowest since the first week of April and compared to 395,000 expected in the Action Economics survey. The 4-week moving average of claims fell to 396,750, also its lowest since April. During the last ten years there has been a 75% correlation between the level of claims and the m/m change in payroll employment.

Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell to 3.608M in the November 5th week, again their lowest of the economic recovery. The insured unemployment rate held at 2.9% for the fourth straight. By state, the rate varied as of October 29th with Virginia (1.4%), New Hampshire (1.6%), Texas (1.7%), Minnesota (1.8%), Indiana (1.9%), Tennessee (2.0%) and Florida (2.0%) at the low end of the range. At the high end were rates in Illinois (3.0%), South Carolina (3.1%), Connecticut (3.1%), Nevada (3.2%), New Jersey (3.4%), California (3.5%) and Pennsylvania (3.5%).

The grand total of those receiving unemployment insurance, including extended programs run by the states and the federal government, was 6.773M (-23.5% y/y) as of October 29th. Regular extended benefits, with eligibility dependent on conditions in individual states, fell to 523,772 (-45.8% y/y) and those on the special "EUC 2008" programs fell to 2.935M (-25.9% 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) 11/12/11 11/5/11 10/29/11 Y/Y% 2010 2009 2008
Initial Claims 388 393 400 -12.0 461 577 413
Continuing Claims -- 3,608 3,665 -15.5 4,544 5,807 3,338
 Insured Unemployment Rate(%) -- 2.9 2.9 3.4
3.6 4.4 2.5
Total "All Programs" (NSA) -- -- 6.773M -23.5 9.850M 9.163M 3.903M
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